This record-breaking photo was taken from 6 billion km away
14 February, 2018, 19:13 | Author: Becky Perry
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.
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. That spacecraft is New Horizons, a NASA starship that zipped past Pluto in 2015 and is scheduled to fly by an object in the icy Kuiper Belt at the outer reaches of the solar system in January 2019.
"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 said, according to NASA. "And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history".
New Horizons is the probe that flew by Pluto on July 14, 2015, and beamed back those unbelievable pictures.
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In so doing, they also broke a record that had stood untouched since 1990, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft sent back a final glimpse of Earth before its cameras went dark.
For the past 27 years, Voyager 1 has been the record holder for the farthest captured image in history. The subjects include the "Wishing Well" star cluster as well as two large objects in the Kuiper Belt which have never been observed from such a distance before.
New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft that goes through the heights of our solar system and opens itself into the real enormous universe. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second. 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. In the process, it sent back of the distant world, which for decades had appeared as little more than a smudge to even the most advanced telescopes on Earth. This is a TRANS-Neptunian object from the Kuiper belt makes one revolution around the Sun for 295 years. At the time of shooting the space station was at a distance of 6.12 billion kilometers from Earth.
NASA also plans for the spacecraft to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets, and Centaurs - the former KBOS in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of giant planets. Now, it's zipping along at more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) each day - moving farther and farther out into our solar system.
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