Back in 2017, NASA published an image taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, also called LORRI. 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. Now New Horizons has just broke its own record, delivering a new “farthest” milestone image.
NASA published a pair of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft, and they’re not much to look at. Featuring bright purple backgrounds with hazes of blue and a yellow-green center something, one would be tempted to quickly dismiss both images. The story behind them, though, is one for history books.
Using the aforementioned LORRI tool, New Horizons managed to snap images of multiple Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), as well as dwarf planets, including the 2012 HE85 and 2012 HZ84 KBOs shown in the image above. NASA describes those as “false-color images” and explains that they were taken in December 2017.
New Horizons broke its own record by taking the image of the two KBOs shown above. Those objects were captured just a day after New Horizons set its first record by taking its “Wishing Well” shot while 3.79 billion miles from Earth. For comparison, Voyager 1 was 3.75 billion miles from Earth when it captured the “Pale Blue Dot” image.
Talking about the new milestone images is New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, who said, “New Horizons has long been a mission of firsts — first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched. And now, we’ve been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history.”