NASA just published the farthest-ever images taken in space

11 February, 2018, 04:59 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Enlarge Image New Horizons captured this record-breaking image of the Wishing Well star cluster in December.                  NASA  JHUAPL  SwRI

That image, known as the "Pale Blue Dot", was taken from 3.75 billion miles (6 billion km) away. "LORRI broke its own record just two hours later with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85-further demonstrating how nothing stands still when you're covering more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) of space each day", says NASA.

This record was previously held by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft which took snapshots of the famous "Pale Blue Dot" from a distance of nearly 3.75 billion miles away from earth.

Alan Stern, the mission's principal investigator, said: "New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", Alan Stern, the mission's principal investigator. With its latest wake-up, it broke the record for the farthest image humanity has ever taken away from Earth.

The record was previously held by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which snapped the image data for the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image on February 14, 1990.

Shots of these two icy objects were captured by NASA's New Horizons space probe. Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, pointed out that New Horizons' vantage point from about 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometers) from MU69 will allow it spot details about the size of a basketball court. During its travels, New Horizons alternates between periods of activity and dormancy to conserve fuel.

New Horizons first left Earth in 2006 with the aim of flying by Pluto, which it did in 2015, taking some dramatic photos along the way. It plans to observe around two dozen objects in the belt, including dwarf planets and "Centaurs"-objects with unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the solar system's giant planets". He further said that now they have been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history.

With that, New Horizons surpasses a record set by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft. It's on-track to smash another record next year, when it flies past an object at the edge of our solar system and has the most distant planetary encounter ever. It performed an unprecedented flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, offering a dramatic view of the dwarf planet and its satellites.

"That tells us this object is going to have a lot of surprises in store for New Horizons", said Marc Buie, the New Horizons science team member from SwRI who led the observation campaign.



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