Nasa spacecraft takes farthest ever image from Earth

Nasa spacecraft takes farthest ever image from Earth

Nasa spacecraft takes farthest ever image from Earth

Artist's impression of New Horizons encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt.

"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.

According to the press release, New Horizons is now back in hibernation mode and will reawaken on June 4 to begin preparations for a January 1, 2019 rendezvous with 2014 MU69, which is almost a billion miles beyond Pluto.

And, just hours later, it beat its own record.

That's because they were taken from the farthest point from planet Earth of any images ever captured, snapped by a spacecraft just over 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from its home planet.

Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years. After the flight in 2015, it was decided in the period from 2016 to 2021 to explore the Kuiper belt, located at a distance of 30-55 astronomical units from the Sun and containing the body, remaining after the formation of the Solar system. New Horizons is exploring this region and the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) found there in an effort to better understand these far-away worlds and the journeys they're making through the cosmos.

The Wishing Well star cluster was the farthest picture taken for two hours on December 5th.

This image (shown above) was rather significant, given that this star cluster was the first target ever observed by the Hubble Space Telescope (on May 20th, 1990).

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On December 5, 2017, it broke a record set by Voyager 1 in 1990. As part of the probes mission to rendezvous with a KBO, the team was searching for forward-scattering rings or dust.

MU69 will be the most distant world ever explored.

Prior to New Horizons' star shot, the image taken farthest from Earth was one of the Blue Marble snapped by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", says principal investigator Alan Stern, a planetary scientist the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, in the release.

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

To date, New Horizons is the fifth spacecraft to venture beyond the outer planets. To transfer the stored information took more than fifteen months. This event, which will happen on January 1st, 2019, will be the farthest planetary encounter in history.

The New Horizons broke a 28-year-old record held by the Voyager 1.

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