These Images Were Captured Nearly 3.8 Billion Miles From Earth

For a short time this New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager frame of the

For a short time this New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager frame of the"Wishing Well star cluster taken Dec. 5 was the farthest image ever made by a spacecraft breaking a record set by Voyager 1. About two hours later New Horizons

And now we have been able to shoot more distant from the Earth than any other spacecraft in history, "said New Horizons lead researcher Alan Stern of Colorado's Southwest Research Institute".

Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.

They are also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.

It's not the first time New Horizons has managed an unprecedented feat. That record was set on February 14, 1990, when Voyager 1 looked back at the solar system and took 60 photographs that were subsequently put together to create the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth.

Just two hours after breaking the almost three-decade-old record, New Horizons broke its own record, photographing two small KBOs, 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 from an even more distant location. There, NASA says it plans for New Horizons to make flyby investigations of at least two dozen objects, such as "dwarf planets and 'Centaurs, ' former [Kuiper Belt objects] in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets".

New Horizons is speeding toward its second target, 2014 MU69, a KBO one billion miles beyond Pluto, which it will encounter on New Year's Day 2019, covering a distance of more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) per day.

"Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects' shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings", the space agency says.

"New Horizons has always been a first-time mission - the first to explore Pluto, the first to explore the Kaiber Zone, the fastest spacecraft ever shot".

But the New Horizons photos are a worthwhile reminder that as technology improves, and as NASA probes and crafts work their way deeper and deeper into space, there's going to be a wealth of interesting, engrossing, and attractive photos as a result. Especially interested in the outer solar system, Laurel gave a brief presentation at the 2008 Great Planet Debate held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD.

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