NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

09 de febrero de 2018, 13:00Washington, Feb 9 (Prensa Latina) The US space agency (NASA) is now displaying images of two objects from the Kuiper Belt (KBO) taken by its New Horizons ship, 6, 120 million kilometers from our planet.

In taking these images, New Horizon broke a record that had stood for almost three decades. Its latest snaps may not be its most spectacular, but are pioneering in their own way as the farthest images ever snapped away from the Earth.

Most of the time, New Horizons is sleeping - hibernating, to save energy. The spacecraft observed numerous Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) as well as dwarf planets at unique phase angles. About two hours later, New Horizons later broke the record again with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, was quoted as saying in a NASA statement.

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The Pale Blue Dot was the final picture beamed back to Earth by Voyager 1, now the most distant thing made by humans and the first craft to cross into interstellar space.

For a brief period of time, this New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) frame of the "Wishing Well" star cluster, was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1. The Voyager was 3.75 billion miles from Earth when that composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system was taken, and it's cameras were shut off shortly after. The targeted object is known as 2014 MU69; the spacecraft will pass within 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometres ). During its travels, New Horizons alternates between periods of activity and dormancy to conserve fuel. In the first week of December, it passed the Pale Blue Dot's record distance. It performed an unprecedented flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, offering a dramatic view of the dwarf planet and its satellites. Not only is the image at the top of this article the farthest ever made from Earth, but is the closest we've ever seen of Kuiper Belt objects.

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

New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006.