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News Worms


NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

At a distance of 3.79 billion miles from Earth, New Horizons recorded a picture of a star cluster this past December.

The images for "Pale Blue Dot" - part of a composite - were taken 3.75 billion miles away.

The space probe was even farther from home than NASA's Voyager 1 when it captured the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth.

The NASA spacecraft that gave us close-ups of Pluto has set a record for the farthest photos ever taken. On January 1, 2019, the probe will fly by a small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt called 2014 MU69, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto. In a span of just a few hours on December 5, the craft trained its camera first on the glittering "Wishing Well" star cluster (seen below) and then on two objects in the Kuiper Belt (seen above), the huge band of rocks and dwarf planets that rings the outer fringes of our solar system. Though the process was routine, the simple image officially broke Voyager 1's record.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

New Horizons originally launched way back in early 2006, and it the spacecraft has made close passes of a number of planets during its more than a decade of cruising through our Solar System. "It is possible for the cameras to be turned on, but it is not a priority for Voyager's Interstellar Mission", according to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website.

New Horizons continues to exceed expectations in its space wanderings.

The images, as seen above (Kuiper Belt objects) and below (Wishing Well cluster), are somewhat grainy and not the most detailed we've seen from NASA, but that doesn't make the feat any less remarkable.

According to NASA, New Horizons is healthy and is now in hibernation.

The probe then turned its attention to the distant Kuiper Belt.

Getting the images to Earth is no easy task.

New Horizons is now traveling about 700,000 miles (1.1M km) every single day. Besides analyzing MU69, New Horizons will also make observations of a dozen other objects including dwarf planets and "Centaurs", or objects with unstable orbits that float around in the Kuiper Belt. From here on out, every image it sends back will be the most distant image ever sent back.

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