NASA Release Furthest Image From Earth Ever Taken

Alan Olson
February 14, 2018

They are also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.

That image has held the record for the farthest ever taken away from Earth-until now.

At a distance of 3.79 billion miles from Earth, New Horizons recorded a picture of a star cluster this past December. They're also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

'And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history'.

The images for "Pale Blue Dot" - part of a composite - were taken 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometres) away. Voyager 1 shut off its camera the same year it captured the "Pale Blue Dot" image and Voyager 2 shut down its cameras after imaging Neptune in 1989.

During more than a decade of cruising through space, New Horizons has already made several flybys of planets in our Solar System.

This image, taken by New Horizons on December 5, 2017, shows the "Wishing Well" Galactic open star cluster.

NASA probe “New Horizons” snaps farthest-ever photo from Earth

Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.

Located about 1 billion miles (1.61 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, which New Horizons famously flew by in July 2015, 2014 MU69 was discovered in June 2014 by scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Anyone who's passionate about astronomy and outer space knows that few things can compare to the grandeur and beauty of deep space photography, and on that front, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is doing great work.

"Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects' shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings".

New Horizons is still on an active mission to visit the Kuiper Belt. "The spacecraft also is making almost continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along its path".

For the two record-breaking Kuiper Belt object images, it took about 4 hours to transmit each image and 6 hours for the data to travel to Earth, Alan Stern, the principal investigator on the New Horizons mission, told Live Science.

NASA said New Horizons is in the hibernation mode now, awaiting its next adventure due January 1, 2019, at which time it will fly past an Kuiper Belt object (KBO) named 2014 MU69.

The piano-sized probe then turned to the Kuiper Belt.

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