This record-breaking photo was taken from 6 billion km away

This record-breaking photo was taken from 6 billion km away

NASA's New Horizonsspacecraft released photos taken from the greatest distance from Earth ever, the agency announced Thursday.

New Horizons made history by clicking the images using its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI). 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.

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

These photos were captured in December by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on board New Horizons, and were shot just before it went back into hibernation. As fuzzy as they are, they're the closest look we've ever got at any objects inside this vast icy ring, which circles the Sun about 30 to 55 times further out than Earth. These pictures show two objects in the Kuiper Belt, the so-called twilight zone on the fringes of our solar system. Porter calculated when New Horizons could best observe the two Kuiper belt objects and helped schedule the images.

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"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. In February 1990, Voyager 1 was exiting our solar system when it snapped the iconic "Pale Blue Dot" photo - a picture of Earth from over 6.06 billion kilometers away.

Along the way, New Horizons broke the record for the farthest image captured away from our home planet. That was followed up with the shots of the Kuiper Belt two hours later.

The Wishing Well star cluster, pictured December 5, 2017. (Dwarf planet Pluto is a part of the belt, but it was not recognized as such until the discovery of other Kuiper objects in the early 2000s.) Pluto was estimated in 2015 to be the largest object in the belt, though there are other dwarf planets of note, such as Eris, Haumea and Makemake. The probe is traveling further out from our solar system to study what's in the Kuiper Belt, which is generally made up of frozen masses of rock and ice. The spacecraft's camera will continue to set image records as it flies by a Kuiper belt object called 2014 MU69 in January 2019.

The spacecraft was launched in 2006.

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