Nasa spacecraft takes farthest ever image from Earth


For a couple of hours, this New Horizons image of the so-called Wishing Well star cluster, snapped on December 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever captured by a spacecraft.

That's because they were taken from the farthest point from planet Earth of any images ever captured, snapped by a spacecraft just over 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from its home planet.

The space probe's cameras were switched off shortly after the images were captured.

New Horizons is the first spacecraft NASA is flying past Pluto at close range.

"LORRI broke its own record just two hours later with images of Kuiper Belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, further demonstrating how nothing stands still when you're covering more than 1.1 million kilometers of space each day", NASA said in the statement.

With its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as centaurs at extremely high phase angles to search for forward-scattering rings or dust.

NASA has released a photograph taken 6.1 billion kilometres away from Earth. 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.

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They will also use LORRI to search the vicinity of MU69 for any objects that could potentially be hazardous to the spacecraft, such as moons, rings, and other debris.

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. It will travel more than 1.6 billion miles beyond Pluto and set another record for the farthest fly by in space exploration history. The cluster photo surpassed the "Pale Blue Dot" images of Earth that NASA's Voyager 1 took back in 1990.

So how does New Horizons send back images, even blurry ones, through all that space?

Following a December 9, 2017, course correction maneuver to refine New Horizons' journey to MU69, the spacecraft was put into hibernation on December 21. Needless to say, the signal strength is low - the antenna transmits at a power of 12 watts and receives signals at 1 million billionth of a watt - so the data transmission rate is painfully slow.

"With New Horizons, all that has changed", NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.

Using its built-in Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, it snapped an image of an open cluster named the "Wishing Well" last December 5 from a distance of 6.12 billion kilometers.