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NASA's New Horizons probe has captured the farthest images from Earth by a spacecraft, surpassing Voyager 1's record of clicking a picture when it was 6.06 billion kilometres away from our planet.

For a couple of hours, this New Horizons image of the so-called Wishing Well star cluster, snapped on December 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever captured by a spacecraft.

NASA's New Horizon spacecraft recently taken record-breaking images in the Kuiper Belt.

The record was previously held by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which snapped the image data for the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image on February 14, 1990. The Voyager was 3.75 billion miles from Earth when that composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system was taken, and it's cameras were shut off shortly after. About two hours later, New Horizons later broke the record again.


The New Horizons spacecraft is said to be in good condition and is now hibernating, with mission control planning to awaken it again on June 4 in preparation for a flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in mid-2019. The story behind them, though, is one for history books. Now, it's heading towards the Kuiper Belt, the circumstellar disk surrounding our solar system. Specifically, New Horizons is targeting 2014 MU69, a mysterious object (or pair of two objects) which Alan Stern, mission principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), has called "provocative" and a "scientific bonanza". The spacecraft is also making nearly continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment during its journey.

New Horizons is sleeping now, resting up for its next big adventure. That spacecraft is New Horizons, a NASA starship that zipped past Pluto in 2015 and is scheduled to fly by an object in the icy Kuiper Belt at the outer reaches of the solar system in January 2019. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second. It is the fifth of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will bring the spacecraft out of its electronic slumber on June 4 and begin a series of system checkouts and other activities to prepare New Horizons for the MU69 encounter. To get there, New Horizons is trucking: It travels more than 700,000 miles (1.1 million km) a day. For now, New Horizons won't be sending home any snapshots.

One of LORRI's pictures shows the "Wishing Well" star cluster, a scattering of points of light that New Horizons could use for camera calibration purposes. This belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets- Pluto, Haumea and Makemake.

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


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