LAUREL, Md. (AP) — A tiny, icy world a billion miles beyond Pluto is getting a New Year’s Day visitor.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to fly past the mysterious orb nicknamed Ultima Thule at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday.

READ MORE: COVID In Maryland: 809 New Cases, Hospitalizations Flat

Maryland Lab Built, Controlling NASA Spacecraft’s Journey Past Pluto

It will be humanity’s most distant exploration of another world, coming 3 1/2 years after New Horizons’ swing past Pluto.

READ MORE: Annapolis Police Warn Of Several Scams Targeting Residents

This time, the drama will unfold 4 billion miles from Earth, so far away it will be 10 hours before flight controllers know whether the spacecraft survived the encounter.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

MORE NEWS: Law Enforcement On High Alert After Plot Warning At U.S. Capitol, House Cancels Session Thursday

Follow @WJZ on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook