NASA breaks record for pictures taken farthest from Earth

"Combining images with the measurements we make of the composition of and environment around MU69, should teach us a great deal about objects like MU69 that built dwarf planets like Pluto", Weaver said.

09 de febrero de 2018, 13:00Washington, Feb 9 (Prensa Latina) The US space agency (NASA) is now displaying images of two objects from the Kuiper Belt (KBO) taken by its New Horizons ship, 6, 120 million kilometers from our planet.

New Horizons snapped these two farthest-out shots, of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, on December 5, 2017. New Horizon's next target is a flyby through the Kuiper belt; hence, the latest images give an overview of what new destination of New Horizons.

Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute said, "New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched". The distance? Over 6.1 billion kilometers. To get there, New Horizons is trucking: It travels more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) a day. New Horizons is one of only five shuttles which has managed to reach the escape velocity required to exit the solar system.

New Horizons first left Earth in 2006 with the aim of flying by Pluto, which it did in 2015, taking some dramatic photos along the way.

New Horizons, in contrast, is just getting started. That was the farthest-from-Earth image that had ever been taken by a spacecraft, breaking the last "farthest" record set by Voyager 1 about 27 years ago. Another picture taken by LORRI consists of two objects in the Kuiper belt. It's on-track to smash another record next year, when it flies past an object at the edge of our solar system and has the most distant planetary encounter ever. On Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, The Associated Press has found that stories circulating on the internet claiming Pluto has been officially reclassified as a planet are untrue. "This post-Pluto mission is a complete and comprehensive exploration of the Kuiper Belt", said Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, also from APL. The spacecraft's camera will continue to set image records as it flies by a Kuiper belt object called 2014 MU69 in January 2019. Now, the shuttle is currently on its way to study one or more other Kuiper belt objects.

"That tells us this object is going to have a lot of surprises in store for New Horizons", said Marc Buie, the New Horizons science team member from SwRI who led the observation campaign.