New Horizons probe captures images at record distance from Earth

These images of Kuiper Belt objects taken by NASA's New Horizons were the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft

The lab built and controls New Horizons, and released two photos of objects in the Kuiper belt, where the craft has been traveling since its historic fly-by of Pluto in 2015. In a span of just a few hours on December 5, the craft trained its camera first on the glittering "Wishing Well" star cluster (seen below) and then on two objects in the Kuiper Belt (seen above), the huge band of rocks and dwarf planets that rings the outer fringes of our solar system. But there is still much to learn about these frosty orbs. The spacecraft is slated to swing by another Kuiper Belt object (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019 and record more imagery in the process.

As Guarino reports, the space probe now alternates between active and dormant periods to conserve fuel. In preparation for these, the probe also established new records when it used its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to take a series of long-distance pictures.

For the past 27 years, Voyager 1 has been the record holder for the farthest captured image in history.

And, NASA says they're the closest images yet of objects in this region.

After making the first ever fly-by of Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft is getting ready for an encore.

That record won't be broken by another probe anytime soon, since New Horizons is one of just a few spacecraft that have ever made the harrowing journey to the edges of our solar system.

"Pale Blue Dot", which shows the Earth as a point of light in a sunbeam, was a precious record-holder for farthest photo captured from Earth. "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 took more photos as it sped deeper into the cosmos in December.

It's not the first time New Horizons has managed an unprecedented feat.

"With New Horizons, all that has changed", NPR's Geoff Brumfiel. There are three images in total, each focusing on a different distant object.

In so doing, they also broke a record that had stood untouched since 1990, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft sent back a final glimpse of Earth before its cameras went dark. Now, it's zipping along at more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) each day - moving farther and farther out into our solar system.

New Horizons is still on an active mission to visit the Kuiper Belt.

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