New Horizons probe captures images at record distance from Earth

Kuiper Belt Objects

Kuiper Belt Objects

This was after the spacecraft took the famous "Pale Blue Dot" photo at a distance of 3.75 billion miles away from Earth.

For a short time, this New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) frame of the "Wishing Well" star cluster, taken December 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1.

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).

New Horizons is the first NASA spacecraft to fly by Pluto and the fifth to speed beyond the outer planets.

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.

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.

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For the past 27 years, Voyager 1 has been the record holder for the farthest captured image in history. As Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience reports, after snapping an image and storing it on its hard drive, New Horizons sends its data back on an antenna that transmits at only 12 watts, moving data at a snail's pace-only two kilobits per second.

The mission also broke a record that has been stagnant since 1990, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft sent back a final capture of Earth before the cameras on the craft were lost. In the middle of this year will start a monitoring campaign, the details of which we wrote earlier, and while New Horizons is in hibernation mode, which will last until June of this year.

Flight controllers at the lab will awaken the spacecraft in June (it's now in electronic hibernation) and start getting it ready for the flyby.

New Horizons covers more than 1.1 million km of space each day (KBO). The craft is now on its way to Kuiper Belt to take pictures of the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) which was named 2014 MU69 on January 1st, 2019.

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. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second. 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. These efforts could reveal much about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, and are setting records that are not likely to be broken for many more decades!

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