NASA's New Horizons breaks record by taking the Most Distant Pictures Ever

11 February, 2018, 05:30 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • This illustration provided by NASA shows the New Horizons spacecraft. The probe whipped past Pluto in 2015 and is headed to 2014 MU69 for an attempted 2019 flyby of the tiny icy world on the edge of the solar system

Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft has made history by capturing the "farthest image ever" from Earth. The "Wishing Well" view and those two false-color images, showing the objects known as 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, are what gave LORRI its record as the farthest-out camera.

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

On December 9, it carried out the most-distant course-correction manoeuvre ever, as the mission team guided the spacecraft towards a close encounter with a Kuiper Belt objects (KBO) named 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019. The story behind them, though, is one for history books. Although the main objective of New Horizons was to study Pluto and the Kuiper Belt of icy, rocky objects, the spacecraft first flew past the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, in early 2007 - just a little over a year after launch. Specifically, New Horizons is targeting 2014 MU69, a mysterious object (or pair of two objects) which Alan Stern, mission principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), has called "provocative" and a "scientific bonanza".

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




"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. From here on out, every image it sends back will be the most distant image ever sent back.

New Horizons, in contrast, is just getting started.

The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia describing the New Horizons spacecraft. "We're going to see something that dates back to the formation of the solar system".

New Horizons is the probe that flew by Pluto on July 14, 2015, and beamed back those awesome pictures. There are only four spacecraft that have ever traveled that far from home: Voyager 1 and 2, and Pioneer 10 and 11. The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons' speed; the flyby also enabled a general test of New Horizons' scientific capabilities, returning data about the planet's atmosphere, moons, and magnetosphere.

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