Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

But the New Horizons photos are a worthwhile reminder that as technology improves, and as NASA probes and crafts work their way deeper and deeper into space, there's going to be a wealth of interesting, engrossing, and attractive photos as a result.

According to reports, the craft achieved the major milestone while drifting farther and farther through the outer boundaries of the solar system late a year ago. New Horizons was about 3.79 billion miles (~6.12B km) from Earth when the photos were shot.

On December 9, 2017, it carried out the most-distant course-correction maneuver ever, as the mission team guided the spacecraft toward a close encounter with a Kuiper Belt object named 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019.

Two hours later, New Horizons has already beaten his own record by making color photographs of two Kuiper Belt objects (2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85).

The picture shown above, a false-colour image of a Kuiper Belt object with the designation 2012 HZ84, is the most distant photo from Earth ever taken by a spacecraft. Voyager 1's achievement lasted as long as it did because the mission crew shut off the camera shortly after capturing the Pale Blue Dot image.

For now, though, New Horizons is now enjoying some well-deserved hibernation as it hurtles away from us at a rate of roughly 700,000 miles a day.

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NASA says Voyager 1's cameras were turned off after that, so its photography record has been unchallenged for more than 27 years.

New Horizons flew past Pluto in 2015.

New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft that goes through the heights of our solar system and opens itself into the real enormous universe.

When you look at Earth from far enough away, all of us - our drama, political squabbling, and day-to-day worries - appear to be part of a speck of dusk, a pale blue dot floating in a vast cosmos of space. NASA scientists are also using the New Horizons craft to analyze plasma, dust, and gas in the region.

Beginning in 2017, New Horizons' extended mission in the Kuiper Belt aims to complete the reconnaissance of the solar system.

New Horizons is now "hibernating" to save power in between actions on its journey. In the process, it sent back of the distant world, which for decades had appeared as little more than a smudge to even the most advanced telescopes on Earth. NASA said the spacecraft is expected 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.

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