Record-breaking photos from the far reaches of space

Record-breaking photos from the far reaches of space

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. Then, the spacecraft broke its own record again two hours later, when it took photos of two objects in the Kuiper Belt, the large cloud of icy objects at the edge of the Solar System that New Horizons is now traversing. 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.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The "Wishing Well" view and those two false-color images, showing the objects known as 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85, are what gave LORRI its record as the farthest-out camera.

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. They were captured 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from Earth in December.

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New Horizons has been on an extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system just beyond Neptune's orbit, since 2017. They're also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects. Now, the shuttle is currently on its way to study one or more other Kuiper belt objects.

Two hours later, LORRI looked at two objects in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy objects that New Horizons has been traveling through in the wake of its Pluto encounter.

New Horizons is just the fifth spacecraft to speed beyond the outer planets, so many of its activities set distance records. Now, it's heading towards the Kuiper Belt, the circumstellar disk surrounding our solar system.

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New Horizons will fly about three times closer to MU69 than it did to Pluto in July 2015, allowing the spacecraft's cameras to provide a more detailed look at the object's surface.

New Horizons is going to get nudged out of hibernation again on the 4th of June. It plans to observe around two dozen objects in the belt, including dwarf planets and "Centaurs"-objects with unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the solar system's giant planets".

New Horizons is reportedly healthy and everything is functioning as planned.

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