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NASA space probe takes 'furthest ever' photo from Earth

NASA space probe takes 'furthest ever' photo from Earth”

The new images released by NASA on Thursday were captured by New Horizons when the spacecraft was more than 6.12 billion km away.

The craft took an image at a record-breaking 6.12 billion kilometres, or 40.9 astronomical units, away from Earth.

While we continue to bask in the afterglow of Elon Musk's historic Falcon Heavy SpaceX launch, it's easy to forget that NASA makes history virtually every day with innovations and milestones that continue to shape the future of the aerospace industry.

New Horizons is now in electronic hibernation.

These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft.

New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as so-called Centaurs - former KBOs in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets on the edge of our solar system.

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"New Horizons is in a very good trajectory to see a lot of these objects close up", said Simon Porter, an astrophysicist at Southwest Research Institute in Colorado and part of the New Horizons mission.

The Pale Blue Dot was the final picture beamed back to Earth by Voyager 1, now the most distant thing made by humans and the first craft to cross into interstellar space.

With these pictures, New Horizons breaks a record of 27 years established by the NASA Voyager 1 probe when it captured the famous Earth photograph, Pale Blue Dot, at 6,0 60 million kilometers.

Earth can be seen as a tiny dot in the middle of the orange stripe on the right side in this "Pale Blue Dot" photograph, taken by NASA's Voyager 1 in 1990, almost 4 billion miles from Earth.

On December 5, 2017, it broke a record set by Voyager 1 in 1990. Next to nothing is known about the micro-surfaces of objects like these, Porter said. It performed an unprecedented flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, offering a dramatic view of the dwarf planet and its satellites. The images of the Kuiper Belt objects are the closest images ever of the belt's objects and, now, officially the farthest from Earth. On January 1, 2019, the probe will fly by a small, frozen world in the Kuiper Belt called 2014 MU69, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto. If a craft were launched today it would take a decade to travel as far as New Horizons has, and there are no immediate plans to follow in its path.



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