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The photos don't look like much: blurry green splotches against pixelated blue. But they're arguably among the most amazing photographic images ever.
That's because they were taken from the farthest point from planet Earth of any images ever captured, snapped by a spacecraft just over 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from its home planet. That spacecraft is New Horizons, a NASA starship that zipped past Pluto in 2015 and is scheduled to fly by an object in the icy Kuiper Belt at the outer reaches of the solar system in January 2019.
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Prior to New Horizons' star shot, the image taken farthest from Earth was one of the Blue Marble snapped by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on Feb. 14, 1990. That image, known as the "Pale Blue Dot," was taken from 3.75 billion miles (6 billion km) away.
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For a couple of hours, this New Horizons image of the so-called Wishing Well star cluster, snapped on Dec. 5, 2017, was the farthest image ever captured by a spacecraft.
New Horizons is headed toward a KBO dubbed 2014 MU69, one of more than 20 far-off chunks of rock and ice NASA hopes to observe during the spacecraft's mission. The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped expanse past the orbit of Neptune, about 2.7 billion to 9.3 billion miles (4.4 billion to 14.9 billion km) from the sun, that contains thousands of icy objects, comets and dwarf planets. (Pluto is one of these dwarf planets.) 2014 MU69...
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