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

10 February 2018

FILE - This image made available by NASA on Friday, July 24, 2015 shows a combination of images captured by the New Horizons spacecraft with enhanced colors to show differences in the composition and texture of Pluto's surface.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has turned its telescopic camera toward a field of stars - and made history.

"And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history", Stern added.

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NASA says the routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well" galactic open star cluster was taken on December 5th 2017. With its latest wake-up, it broke the record for the farthest image humanity has ever taken away from Earth.

"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 of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, was quoted as saying in a NASA statement.

The New Horizons probe took an image which is the furthest ever created from Earth, beating a record set by NASA's Voyager probe.

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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. And with the probe continuing to hurtle through space at a speed of 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) per day, it will continue to collect more and more distant views of the universe. "On Dec. 9 it carried out the most-distant course-correction maneuver ever, as the mission team guided the spacecraft toward a close encounter with a KBO named 2014 MU69 on January 1, 2019", says NASA.

The image at the top of the page is of several Kuiper Belt objects including some far-out dwarf planets and Centaurs, the space agency reports. The voyager one had taken captured the images on February 14, 1990. The spacecraft observed numerous Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) as well as dwarf planets at unique phase angles.

"This dramatic Pluto flyover begins over the highlands to the southwest of the great expanse of nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planitia", Nasa said in a statement, describing New Horizons' journey.

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NASA reports that the cameras on the Voyager 1 were turned off shortly after that image was made, which kept the record intact for almost 30 years.

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