NASA Release Furthest Image From Earth Ever Taken

NASA Release Furthest Image From Earth Ever Taken

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that its New Horizons spacecraft has recently taken the farthest ever images from Earth, breaking a previous record set by Voyager 1's "Pale Blue Dot" taken in 1990.

NASA said the image, captured by New Horizons's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), was "for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth".

The image, which to the naked eye just looks like an eery green glow in between some cloud looking things, is actually something much cooler.

'New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched, ' said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history". Given that the New Horizons is still making its way through the solar system, it's entirely possible there will be more incredibly distant images in the weeks and months to come.

Voyager 1's record remained unchallenged for almost three decades after NASA turned off its cameras shortly after taking the legendary shot.

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Several hours after that first image, New Horizons broke its own record with the two images at the top of this story. After the flight in 2015, it was decided in the period from 2016 to 2021 to explore the Kuiper belt, located at a distance of 30-55 astronomical units from the Sun and containing the body, remaining after the formation of the Solar system.

New Horizons is headed toward a KBO dubbed 2014 MU69, one of more than 20 far-off chunks of rock and ice NASA hopes to observe during the spacecraft's mission.

New Horizons was even farther from home than NASA's Voyager 1 when it captured the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth. New Horizons was about 3.79 billion miles (~6.12B km) from Earth when the photos were shot. NASA scientists are also using the New Horizons craft to analyze plasma, dust, and gas in the region. Each of those show a Kuiper Belt object: The one on the left is known as 2012 HZ84, and on the right is 2012 HE85. It's headed toward an even closer encounter with another icy world, 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, on January 1, 2019.

MU69 will be the most distant world ever explored. Data is stored in a solid-state recorder (the only moving parts in these flash memory devices are the electrons) on New Horizons and is then transmitted via radio waves.

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