New Horizons Captures The Farthest Image Ever Taken From Earth

New Horizons claims record for most distant images in history of space exploration

New Horizons claims record for most distant images in history of space exploration

Take a good, hard look at the photos you see above, because there is something truly astonishing about those pictures.

For a couple of hours, this New Horizons image of the so-called Wishing Well star cluster, snapped on December 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever captured by a spacecraft. Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region beyond Neptune that extends from about 30 to 55 astronomical units from the Sun.

For a short time, this New Horizons of the "Wishing Well" star cluster, taken December 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, according to NASA.

Shortly after midnight Eastern Time on January 1, 2019 - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will buzz by the most primitive and most distant object ever explored.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has captured the farthest images from Earth by a spacecraft and set a new record.

The "Pale Blue Dot" images of Earth, taken in 1990, were part of the first ever "portrait" of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. The Voyager was 3.75 billion miles from Earth when that composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system was taken, and it's cameras were shut off shortly after. Another famous space probe, Voyager 1, was the previous record holder for over 27 years.

Along the way, New Horizons broke the record for the farthest image captured away from our home planet. Now New Horizons has just broke its own record, delivering a new "farthest" milestone image. The images of KBO 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 are also the closest-ever images of KBOs. At one billion miles beyond Pluto, that will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, according to NASA.

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During its extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, which began in 2017, New Horizons is aiming to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets and "Centaurs", former KBOs in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets. "Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects' shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings", says NASA. 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.

Most of the time, New Horizons is sleeping - hibernating, to save energy.

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

"That tells us this object is going to have a lot of surprises in store for New Horizons", said Marc Buie, the New Horizons science team member from SwRI who led the observation campaign.

Alan Stern, the mission's principal investigator, said: "New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", Alan Stern, the mission's principal investigator. During its voyage to the outer reaches of the solar system, the spacecraft usually stays in hibernation mode to conserve energy.

New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, traveling at a speed of 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) per day.

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