They're grainy, ill-defined, seemingly more akin to television static or an 8-bit video game than they are to the high-resolution masterworks sent back by the.
Located at a distance of about 6.12 billion klm from our planet or almost 41 astronomical units (that is, 41 times the Earth-Sun distance), New Horizons turned its telescopic camera and photographed on December 5 two KWO bodies, the "2012 HZ84 "and" 2012 HES85 ".
They are also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects.
"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, released Thursday.
"And now, we've been able to make images farther from Earth than any spacecraft in history", Stern said.
But the New Horizons photos are a worthwhile reminder that as technology improves, and as NASA probes and crafts work their way deeper and deeper into space, there's going to be a wealth of interesting, engrossing, and lovely photos as a result. Voyager 1's achievement lasted as long as it did because the mission crew shut off the camera shortly after capturing the Pale Blue Dot image.
That image was made at a vantage point of 3.75 billion miles from Earth.
Before we eventually lose touch with New Horizons, it's hoped that it will tell us plenty more about the Kuiper Belt.
New Horizons flew past Pluto in 2015. That was followed up with the shots of the Kuiper Belt two hours later.
"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 spacecraft is slated to swing by another Kuiper Belt object (2014 MU69) on January 1st, 2019 and record more imagery in the process. "The spacecraft also is making almost continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along its path".
New Horizons is going to get nudged out of hibernation again on the 4th of June.