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

NASA share farthest pic of Pluto from Earth 1222018

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

The routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well" open star cluster was taken when the spacecraft was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion km) from Earth - making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from our planet.

The images for "Pale Blue Dot" - part of a composite - were taken 3.75 billion miles away. "And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history". The targeted object is known as 2014 MU69; the spacecraft will pass within 2,175 miles.

The New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, is now on its way out to the Kuiper Belt, the wide band of small pieces of rock and ice that encircles the solar system.

Hours after its first record-breaking image on Dec 5, it captured another.

NASA has a whole lot of fancy image-gathering hardware on Earth and in space, and we've seen countless of stunning snapshots taken from here on Earth as well as nearby planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

The kicker? That record is likely to be broken again within a matter of months.

The photo surpassed the "Pale Blue Dot" images of Earth taken by Voyager 1 back in 1990. "It is possible for the cameras to be turned on, but it is not a priority for Voyager's Interstellar Mission", according to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website. There, NASA says it plans for New Horizons to make flyby investigations of at least two dozen objects, such as "dwarf planets and 'Centaurs, ' former [Kuiper Belt objects] in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets".

New Horizons is sleeping now, resting up for its next big adventure. Considering that was an image of our own planet taken from afar, it figures that it'd probably remain the more popular and iconic of the two―humanity can be self-centered, after all, and the Kuiper Belt is remote.

Getting the images to Earth is no easy task. In the process, it sent back of the distant world, which for decades had appeared as little more than a smudge to even the most advanced telescopes on Earth.

That flight past 2014 MU69 will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, happening one billion miles beyond the Pluto system.

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

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