NASA probe "New Horizons" snaps farthest-ever photo from Earth

NASA share farthest pic of Pluto from Earth 1222018

NASA probe “New Horizons” snaps farthest-ever photo from Earth

That won't be happening with New Horizons. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech. While this image broke the long-distance record established by Voyager 1, the probe then turned its LORRI instrument towards objects in its flight path. This image is, for now, one of the farthest pictures from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft.

NASA has a whole lot of fancy image-gathering hardware on Earth and in space, and we've seen countless of stunning snapshots taken from here on Earth as well as nearby planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Voyager, by comparison, was 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers) from Earth when it captured its famous photo in 1990.

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.

According to NASA, the remarkable false-color images sent back by New Horizons are also the closest-ever images captured of objects in the Kuiper Belt.

Several hours after that first image, New Horizons broke its own record with the two images at the top of this story. At a distance of 3.79 billion miles, or 40.9 astronomical units from our cosmic home, the image took the crown from Voyager 1's "Pale Blue Dot" as the image taken farthest from Earth.

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"The Voyagers and Pioneers flew through the Kuiper Belt at a time when we didn't know this region existed", says Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, in another press release.

NASA program director Alan Stern said: "New Horizons has always been a first-time mission, the first to explore Pluto, the first to explore the Camping Zone and the fastest spacecraft ever launched".

"Those are the farthest out images ever taken", says Dr. Andy Cheng, with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel.

As one of only five spacecraft to travel beyond the Outer Planets, New Horizons has set a number of other distance records as well.

New Horizons is now in electronic hibernation. This event, which will happen on January 1st, 2019, will be the farthest planetary encounter in history. These objects include dwarf planets like Pluto in far-out orbits of the sun and former KBOs in unstable orbits known as "Centaurs". 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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