NASA Just Published The Farthest-Ever Images Taken In Space

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NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft just took the farthest - ever images from Earth, breaking an earlier record set by Voyager 1’s “Pale Blue Dot” image taken almost exactly 28 years ago. (Didn’t know that right!)

They were captured 3.79 billion miles ( 6.12 billion kilometers ) from Earth in December.



The new false-color images show objects in the Kuiper Belt, a donut-shaped ring that surrounds our solar system and is likely full of comets, icy dwarf planets, and asteroids.


In December 2017, New Horizons took these false-color images of objects in the Kuiper Belt, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. They’re also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.

In December 2017, New Horizons took these false-color images of objects in the Kuiper Belt, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. They’re also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects. The Pale Blue Dot images were taken at a distance of 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers), and show Earth itself as a mere speck amid space. Voyager took them by turning its lens back towards Earth as the spacecraft sailed beyond Neptune on Feb. 14, 1990.


The “Pale Blue Dot” images of Earth, taken in 1990, were part of the first ever “portrait” of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. At the time, they broke distance records.

New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft ever launched, traveling at a speed of 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) per day. Just two hours before taking the record-breaking images of the Kuiper Belt objects, it took an image of a star cluster called the “Wishing Well,” which is now the second-farthest image from Earth ever taken.


For a short time, this New Horizons of the “Wishing Well” star cluster, taken Dec. 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft, according to NASA. About two hours later, New Horizons broke the record again with images of two Kuiper Belt objects.

The spacecraft became the first to fly over Pluto in 2015, and the first to explore the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons began its Kuiper Belt mission last year. It plans to observe around two dozen objects in the belt, including dwarf planets and “Centaurs”—objects with unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the solar system’s giant planets.


 

New Horizons will become the first to do a fly-by of one of the many mysterious Kuiper Belt objects when it will come in close range of “Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69” shortly after midnight on January 1, 2019. At one billion miles beyond Pluto, that will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, according to NASA.


The hazy white ring around our solar system pictured here is the Kuiper Belt. It extends in a disc around our sun, beyond the orbit of Neptune. Until now, it has been almost completely unexplored. The red line marks the path of the New Horizons spacecraft.

“The Voyagers and Pioneers flew through the Kuiper Belt at a time when we didn’t know this region existed,” Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said. “New Horizons is on the hunt to understand these objects, and we invite everyone to ring in the next year with the excitement of exploring the unknown.”

Updated version of the previous article.

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