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Proposal Information for 2012B-0422


PI: David E. Trilling, Northern Arizona University, david.trilling@nau.edu
Address: Physics Department, PO Box 6010, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA

CoI: John Spencer, SWRI
CoI: Alex Parker, CfA
CoI: Marc Buie, SWRI
CoI: JJ Kavelaars, HIA/NRC, Canada
CoI: Dave Tholen, UH/IfA
CoI: Cesar Fuentes, NAU
CoI: Alan Stern, SWRI
CoI: Matt Holman, SAO
CoI: Scott Sheppard, Carnegie/DTM
CoI: Rick Binzel, MIT

Title: Finding KBO flyby targets for New Horizons

Abstract: We propose to continue the search for Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) that can be reached by the New Horizons spacecraft after its Pluto flyby in 2015. This first flyby of a typical small (~50 km) KBO would revolutionize our understanding of these bodies, providing information that can be extrapolated to hundreds of thousands of similar objects in the Kuiper Belt. Our 2011 search has already discovered an object that could be reached with only about 30% more fuel than New Horizons has available, so deepening the search in 2012 has a good chance of finding a targetable object. Our highest priority is a single deep SuprimeCam stare centered where targetable KBOs are likely to occur, in which, if seeing is good enough, we expect to detect about 2.5 targetable objects. Additional fields will be covered if we reach our target magnitude of R=26.5 in the central field, further improving our chances of success. We will also refine the orbits of previously discovered objects, including ones that can be observed from a distance by New Horizons on its passage through the Kuiper Belt.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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