NASA just broke a photography record with photos taken in Kuiper Belt

NASA Captures the Farthest Images Ever Taken From Earth With New Horizons Spacecraft

NASA Captures the Farthest Images Ever Taken From Earth With New Horizons Spacecraft

"And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history".

The record-breaking photo was taken by the New Horizons spacecraft when it flew past Pluto (you'll always be a planet to me, Pluto) in July 2015.

New Horizons has been on an extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system just beyond Neptune's orbit, since 2017.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recently made history when it captured the images of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).

Snapped on 5 December, the image was taken by the satellite's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and surpasses the famous 'Pale Blue Dot' image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 when it was at a point 6.06bn km from Earth. That picture, the brainchild of the late physicist Carl Sagan, looked back at Earth from a distance of 3.75 billion miles.

New Horizons is the fifth spacecraft to go beyond the outer planets of our solar systems, so is in a prime position to break a few records.

These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. "Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects' shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings", says NASA. The spacecraft is also making nearly continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment during its journey.

New Horizons is sleeping now, resting up for its next big adventure.

New Horizons, in contrast, is just getting started.

"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.

"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.

New Horizons was launched on January 19, 2006. After a brief encounter with asteroid 132524 APL, New Horizons proceeded to Jupiter, making its closest approach on February 28, 2007, at a distance of 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles). "This post-Pluto mission is a complete and comprehensive exploration of the Kuiper Belt", said Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, also from APL. (Pluto is one of these dwarf planets.) 2014 MU69 is almost a billion miles beyond Pluto, which itself is 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion km) beyond Earth.

New Horizons broke its own record by taking the image of the two KBOs shown above.

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