Sci-tech

NASA captured the most distant photograph from the Earth

NASA captured the most distant photograph from the Earth

NASA has a whole lot of fancy image-gathering hardware on Earth and in space, and we've seen countless of stunning snapshots taken from here on Earth as well as nearby planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

New Horizons snapped these two farthest-out shots, of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, on December 5, 2017.

Prior to New Horizons' star shot, the image taken farthest from Earth was one of the Blue Marble snapped by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990.

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.

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 captured these images at a distance of 3.79 billion miles from Earth - the farthest from our planet an image has ever been made.

Voyager, by comparison, was 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers) from Earth when it captured its famous photo in 1990.

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New Horizons is now traveling about 700,000 miles (1.1M km) every single day. These images once again broke the record for being the most distant images taken from Earth (again), but also set a new record for the closest-ever images ever taken of KBOs.

Until now, the photo was taken farther away from Earth than any image ever, a record that stood for more than 27 years.

New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft that goes through the heights of our solar system and opens itself into the real vast universe. It is due to pass by an object there known as 2014 MU69 at the beginning of 2019. However, that might not be the last we hear from New Horizons, as its power source could continue to provide life into 2026 and beyond.

Were you impressed by New Horizons' achievement?

"The Voyagers and Pioneers flew through the Kuiper Belt at a time when we didn't know this region existed", says Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, in another press release. Data is stored in a solid-state recorder (the only moving parts in these flash memory devices are the electrons) on New Horizons and is then transmitted via radio waves.

NASA also plans for the spacecraft to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets, and Centaurs - the former KBOS in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of giant planets.


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