NASA takes farthest photos ever taken, from almost 4 billion miles away

NASA takes farthest photos ever taken, from almost 4 billion miles away

NASA takes farthest photos ever taken, from almost 4 billion miles away

The coming New Year's flight past MU69 will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, happening one billion miles beyond the Pluto system - which New Horizons famously explored in July 2015, NASA said.

Now, using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), the spacecraft has photographed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique angles.

New Horizons is sleeping now, resting up for its next big adventure. The image of an icy rock in the Kuiper belt has had colour added to increase the contrast.

New Horizons took more photos as it sped deeper into the cosmos in December.

Such is the case with its New Horizons spacecraft, which made history by turning its telescopic camera toward a field of stars on December 5 when it snapped a photograph of the "Wishing Well" galactic star cluster 3.79 billion miles away from Earth. Carl Sagan, famous astronomer whose words on the "Pale Blue Dot" are widely known, requested the photo be taken. That's here. That's home.

Earth can be seen as a tiny dot in the middle of the orange stripe on the right side in this "Pale Blue Dot" photograph, taken by NASA's Voyager 1 in 1990, almost 4 billion miles from Earth. Voyager can no longer send back postcards - its camera was shut down. NASA turned on Voyager's backup thrusters in 2017 after almost 40 years of disuse.

The hazy pictures above may not look like much, but they're the farthest images a manmade spacecraft has ever made from Earth. There, it changed the way we view the dwarf planet.

New Horizons is reportedly healthy and everything is functioning as planned.

It was most recently active between September and December 2017.

In 1994, United States astronomer Carl Sagan reflected on the significance of the photograph to an audience at Cornell University, famously coining its name as the Pale Blue Dot, and giving one of the most widely published speeches of all time.

About two hours later, New Horizons later broke the record again with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85. The images of 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 provide vital context to the understudied bodies at the solar system's bleeding edge. But that will not be true when New Horizons wakes up in August. Since then it's been heading into the Kuiper Belt, and will carry out a flyby of Kuiper Belt object (KBO) 2014 MU69 in January 2019.

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

New Horizons first left Earth in 2006 with the aim of flying by Pluto, which it did in 2015, taking some dramatic photos along the way.

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