Record-breaking photos from the far reaches of space

Record-breaking photos from the far reaches of space

The new images released by NASA on Thursday were captured by New Horizons when the spacecraft was more than 6.12 billion km away. New Horizons broke its own record in the following days, photographing Kuiper belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has set a new record by capturing the farthest images from Earth by a spacecraft, surpassing the Voyager 1's record of capturing an image when it was 6.06 billion km away from Earth.

"Our flyby of MU69 on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 2019 will be an exciting sequel to the historic exploration New Horizons performed at Pluto in 2015", added Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. New Horizon's next target is a flyby through the Kuiper belt; hence, the latest images give an overview of what new destination of New Horizons.

The Pale Blue Dot was the final picture beamed back to Earth by Voyager 1, now the most distant thing made by humans and the first craft to cross into interstellar space.

Shots of these two icy objects were captured by NASA's New Horizons space probe. The distance? Over 6.1 billion kilometers.

This illustration provided by NASA shows the New Horizons spacecraft. The probe whipped past Pluto in 2015 and is headed to 2014 MU69 for an attempted 2019 flyby of the tiny icy world on the edge of the solar system
Record-breaking photos from the far reaches of space

New Horizons is now in electronic hibernation.

New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006. It's not just taking awesome photos on its path, but also carrying measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along the way, enabling astronomers to better understand the outskirts of our solar system.

Prior to New Horizons' star shot, the image taken farthest from Earth was one of the Blue Marble snapped by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990.

The Kuiper belt object flyby is "not almost as flashy as Pluto", Porter said, but "it's a really unique observation". The camera photographed three subjects in December: a star group nicknamed the Wishing Well, as well as two objects closer to home that are part of the band of rocks, ice clumps and dwarf planets at the edge of our solar system called the Kuiper belt. It finished its primary mission with the Pluto flyby in 2015 and is now on an extended mission to explore the Kuiper Belt, helping the United States to complete its reconnaissance of our solar system. Another picture taken by LORRI consists of two objects in the Kuiper belt. When that happens, it will break the record again. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second.

New Horizons is reportedly healthy and everything is functioning as planned.

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