Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

NASA's New Horizons satellite snaps farthest image ever made from Earth

NASA's New Horizons satellite snaps farthest image ever made from Earth

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has returned some magnificent images of the Solar System's outer reaches around Pluto, its primary target. New Horizons had traveled 6.12 billion kilometers when it took a grainy picture of the Wishing Well star cluster.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft previously held the record for the image taken furthest out in space, after it took the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image 27 years ago.

The Pale Blue Dot images were taken at a distance of 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers), and show Earth itself as a mere speck amid space.

Voyager's cameras were turned off shortly afterward and are no longer being used, even though the probe continues to zoom through the solar system's fringe at a distance of 13.2 billion miles.

The probe is powered by a Star Trek-style ion drive and is journeying into the icy Kuiper Belt, one of the last truly unknown parts of our solar system.

NASA published a pair of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft, and they're not much to look at.

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During its mission, the spacecraft helped researchers answer basic questions about the surface properties, geology and interior makeup of these bodies.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, said in a statement.

The New Horizons spacecraft is healthy and is now in hibernation. It's not just taking awesome photos on its path, but also carrying measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along the way, enabling astronomers to better understand the outskirts of our solar system. By then, it will have time to beat again and again it own record of farthest image ever taken from earth.

Launched in 2006, New Horizons spacecraft is created to explore worlds at the our solar system. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second.

Most of the post-Jupiter voyage was spent in hibernation mode to preserve on-board systems, except for brief annual checkouts.[9] On December 6, 2014, New Horizons was brought back online for the Pluto encounter, and instrument check-out began.[10] On January 15, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft began its approach phase to Pluto. This belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets- Pluto, Haumea and Makemake. 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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