NASA Probe Captures Farthest Images Taken Away From Earth

10 February, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Grady King
  • NASA Spacecraft Takes Photo From 3.79 Billion Miles

FILE - This image made available by NASA on Friday, July 24, 2015 shows a combination of images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft with enhanced colors to show differences in the composition and texture of Pluto's surface.

New Horizons took more photos as it sped deeper into the cosmos in December. The images of the Kuiper Belt objects are the closest images ever of the belt's objects and, now, officially the farthest from Earth.

The photos taken far into space are a part of the New Horizons spacecraft mission, the fifth spacecraft to go beyond the outer planets.

In 1994, U.S. astronomer Carl Sagan reflected on the significance of the photograph to an audience at Cornell University, famously coining its name as the Pale Blue Dot, and giving one of the most widely published speeches of all time.

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New Horizons is still on an active mission to visit the Kuiper Belt.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is now one of the most distant human-made objects, and it just took the most distant photograph ever.

Now, using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), the spacecraft has photographed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique angles.

The new images released by NASA on Thursday were captured by New Horizons when the spacecraft was more than 6.12 billion kilometres away.

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New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006. It imaged the Wishing Well at 3.79 billion miles away, beating the Blue Dot photo shoot by 40 million miles. LORRI then captured Kuiper Belt objects known as 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85-breaking its own record just two hours later. The images of 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 provide vital context to the understudied bodies at the solar system's bleeding edge. It performed an unprecedented flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, offering a dramatic view of the dwarf planet and its satellites.

While we continue to bask in the afterglow of Elon Musk's historic Falcon Heavy SpaceX launch, it's easy to forget that NASA makes history virtually every day with innovations and milestones that continue to shape the future of the aerospace industry. But that will not be true when New Horizons wakes up in August. On Jan. 1, 2019, the spacecraft is also scheduled to fly past a 20 mile-long frozen mass called 2014 MU69.

The Kuiper belt object flyby is "not almost as flashy as Pluto", Porter said, but "it's a really unique observation".

But New Horizons is the first to send back a picture for so far afield.

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