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The Kuiper Belt is one of the largest structures in our solar system.
It is comprised of bits of rock and ice, comets and dwarf planets.
Pluto, which used to be regarded as a stand-alone planet, sits within the belt as a dwarf planet.
Indeed, it is named after astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who published a scientific paper in 1951 that speculated about objects beyond Pluto.
Astronomers think the icy objects of the Kuiper Belt are remnants from the formation of the solar system.
The first spacecraft to enter the Kuiper Belt region was NASA’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft, when it crossed into the space beyond Neptune’s orbit in 1983.
The first spacecraft to actually visit an object in the Kuiper Belt was NASA’s New Horizons, which flew by Pluto and its moons in July 2015, providing humankind’s first close-up look at one of the icy remnants of solar system formation.
With cues to the formation of our solar system, the Kuiper Belt remains a target of space exploration and discovery for scientists.