NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

Cesar Mills
February 11, 2018

Those snapshots of the December 2012 KBO 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 are so far the furthest ever captured by a spacecraft, and the closest to any body of Kuiper, the agency stressed in a statement.

The record was previously held by NASA's Voyager 1 when it captured the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth more than 27 years ago on Valentine's Day, 1990. Another picture taken by LORRI consists of two objects in the Kuiper belt. About two hours later, New Horizons later broke the record again.

The new false-color images show objects in the Kuiper Belt, a donut-shaped ring that surrounds our solar system and is likely full of comets, icy dwarf planets, and asteroids.

First, a photo of the "Wishing Well" galactic open star cluster taken 3.79 billion miles from Earth was captured on December 5.

As for what the New Horizons spacecraft is going almost 4 billion miles from Earth, NASA reports that it started an extended mission in the Kuiper Belt a year ago.

Launched in 2006, the New Horizons mission stayed true to its name.

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

"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, said in the NASA statement.

"And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history", Stern added. New Horizons is one of only five shuttles which has managed to reach the escape velocity required to exit the solar system.

After its visit to Pluto, New Horizons is now heading towards its next target and will make a close encounter with a Kuiper Belt object named 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. 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.

New Horizons is still on an active mission to visit the Kuiper Belt. It plans to observe around two dozen objects in the belt, including dwarf planets and "Centaurs"-objects with unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the solar system's giant planets".

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

New Horizons is now in electronic hibernation.

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Other reports by GizPress

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