New Horizons will fly past the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in January 2019. This will use 56 m/s of the remaining ∆V budget of 130 m/s (1). The encounter will occur near the inner edge of the belt:

It looks perhaps feasible to find another target, but only if they look for one. Is it, and will they?

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    $\begingroup$ Even this mission extension to 2014 MU69 hasn't been approved yet, or indeed official proposal submitted, so what happens after some tentative mission is anyone's guess at this point in time. NASA will conduct a detailed assessment once mission extension is proposed, but it's also unclear if that would include any follow-up observations for potential KBO targets or not. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Aug 29 '15 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave Is there time to submit a proposal and wait for approval before the deadline for a maneuver? It sounds reasonable for them to make sure a "fly past" will happen now, and wait for later permission for a full-blown "flyby." $\endgroup$ – Potatoswatter Aug 29 '15 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's all here pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150828 $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Aug 29 '15 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave "That proposal – due in 2016 – will be evaluated by an independent team of experts before NASA can decide about the go-ahead. Early target selection was important; the team needs to direct New Horizons toward the object this year in order to perform any extended mission with healthy fuel margins." So, yeah, they'll continue navigating to it regardless of the proposal. $\endgroup$ – Potatoswatter Aug 29 '15 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ you might consider un-accepting the currently accepted answer, now that the MU69 flyby has happened and there is more information on remaining delta-v and there has been a lot more survey work done. I don't think they will do a trajectory change until they download all of the stored data from the current flyby, but after that, the sky's the limit! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 2 '19 at 5:24

It's unlikely.

Per one of the scientists working navigation on the New Horizons mission, Simon Porter,

Lack of known objects prevents [targeting an additional flyby]; PT1 is almost on the outer edge of the [cold classical Kuiper Belt].

Many expensive hours of Hubble time and months of calendar time were dedicated to finding the three candidate objects. There is not sufficient delta V to visit more than one of the detected objects, so any possible third encounter would need to be an as-yet-undetected object significantly further (and fainter) than PT1. It's probably safe to assume that anything detectable by Hubble would already have been found, and we will have no assets that outperform Hubble operational prior to the PT1 encounter.

There's no particular reason why a new target has to be found before the PT1 encounter - in particular PT1 is far too small to provide a useful gravity assist, so a maneuver could be made some time after that to target a yet-to-be-discovered deeper object. Of course, the longer you wait, the smaller the region of reachable targets.

If JWST launches on time (haha), it is slated to complete commissioning a few months after the PT1 encounter. Its limiting magnitude will be approximately 1 magnitude fainter than Hubble for a comparable length of exposure. 1 magnitude is not a tremendous increase in sensitivity, and the corresponding probability of finding an object that both wasn't already detected by Hubble and is reachable with NH's dwindling delta V reserve after the PT1 flyby is small. It will probably not be considered worthwhile to spend the JWST time on that search.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe (Kepler) K2 can help find candidates? According to this recent SETI talk by Tom Barclay "We see asteroids all the time" when it is looking in the ecliptic. And "We see a dozen asteroids per star we observe" and Jupiter Trojans and TNO's. It can dig very deep and detect very low albedo. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Sep 2 '15 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds definite enough. According to that article, the initial survey looked for objects out to twice as far as the one that was chosen, and I don't suppose the Hubble phase was narrower. Still, I wonder if it's possible to program it to stare straight (more or less) ahead with continuous exposure and do onboard image processing. $\endgroup$ – Potatoswatter Sep 2 '15 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ Kepler is totally unsuitable. It's much less sensitive than Hubble and can't point in the right direction. $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Sep 3 '15 at 0:47

I'm confident that if New Horizon's can reach another target, they will attempt to visit it. One of the reasons PT1 was selected as the target is that it was the closest object they could reach, leaving a reasonable amount of delta v, about half of what remained after flying by Pluto. I'm also confident they will try to find such potential targets. However, I suspect it will be difficult to find another candidate at all that could be reached. Even the selected candidate now was difficult to find, and I suspect it would be even more challenging to find another suitable target. Still, no doubt an attempt to find a candidate will be attempted, if it looks like there is remaining fuel.

Also note that likely the fuel will be further used to refine the trajectory to be at a very optimal location, which will allow better science of the one target, but further reduce the likelihood of another flyby.

Note from this article the following quote:

It also keeps open a possibility for New Horizons to continue on a second extended mission after the flyby, potentially making astronomical observations and probing the boundary between the solar system and interstellar space.

That seems to be the current plan, although I would still be willing to bet that an attempt will be made to visit another object, given the opportunity.

EDIT: Another target will be sought, possibly using Hubble but also using LORRI to try and find a potential target. It seems unlikely another target will be found, but they will still make the attempt.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer seems to be primarily opinion-based. It'd be good to include some references or feasibility analysis. $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Sep 1 '15 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ There isn't much in the way of references to be found. There's no target that is known right now, it's not even really being discussed openly. The best reference was the one that I edited in at the very end that I've been able to find. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 1 '15 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto You too should see the K2 telescope movie I linked to in my comment to pericynthion's answer here. Asteroids "flying by", incredible. $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Sep 2 '15 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ Looking forward to updates! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 2 '19 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ See What's next for New Horizons? and Distance to Proxima Centauri (Gaia VS New Horizons parallax program) for updates! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 4 at 0:30

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