(CNN)The new year on Earth began with a record-setting space mission 4 billion miles away — a first look at an object on the edge of our solar system.
Mission scientists from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have confirmed that the New Horizons spacecraft conducted a flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object that’s a billion miles beyond Pluto.
Although the flyby occurred at 12:33 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the spacecraft is so far from Earth that the “phone-home” signal didn’t reach us until about 10:30 a.m. ET.