Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

The most distant photo ever taken

The most distant photo ever taken

The images for "Pale Blue Dot" - part of a composite - were taken 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometres) away.

NASA said the image, captured by New Horizons's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), was "for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth". After the flight in 2015, it was decided in the period from 2016 to 2021 to explore the Kuiper belt, located at a distance of 30-55 astronomical units from the Sun and containing the body, remaining after the formation of the Solar system. But there is still much to learn about these frosty orbs. In the middle of this year will start a monitoring campaign, the details of which we wrote earlier, and while New Horizons is in hibernation mode, which will last until June of this year.

As Guarino reports, the space probe now alternates between active and dormant periods to conserve fuel. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

This image, taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft on December 5, 2017, shows the Kuiper Belt object 2012 HZ84.

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The picture shown above, a false-colour image of a Kuiper Belt object with the designation 2012 HZ84, is the most distant photo from Earth ever taken by a spacecraft.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is making history again, this time one-upping the legendary Voyager 1.

The photo surpassed the "Pale Blue Dot" images of Earth taken by Voyager 1 back in 1990. "It is possible for the cameras to be turned on, but it is not a priority for Voyager's Interstellar Mission", according to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website.

New Horizons is now in electronic hibernation. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second.

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The piano-sized probe then turned to the Kuiper Belt. The date of the rendezvous is on New Year's Day, according to Cheng.

Getting the images to Earth is no easy task. But they're arguably among the most wonderful photographic images ever.

Several hours after that first image, New Horizons broke its own record with the two images at the top of this story.

According to the press release, New Horizons is now back in hibernation mode and will reawaken on June 4 to begin preparations for a January 1, 2019 rendezvous with 2014 MU69, which is almost a billion miles beyond Pluto.

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"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.

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