On February 9th, 2018 the American space research agency NASA announced that their space shuttle New Horizons spacecraft took the farthest photograph from earth. This is a new record in the history of science and photography.
The previous record for the most distant image captured on camera belongs to the “Pale Blue Dot” the famous photograph captured by Voyager 1 in the year 1990 on Valentine’s day.
Photographs of 2012 HE85 and KBOs 2012 HZ84 (right) taken by New Horizons spacecraft.
These are the closest pictures of Kuiper belt objects evert taken. Kuiper belt
is a region in the outermost area of our solar system which is similar to an astroid belt, but nearly 20 times larger in width and 200 times larger in size.
Pale Blue Dot Vs New Kuiper Belt Photograph
- Pale blue dot is an image of earth from the farthest distance whereas the new images are pictures of objects in Kuiper Belt.
- Pale blue dot was captured by Voyager 1 spacecraft. The Kuiper belt images are taken by New Horizon spacecraft.
- New Horizon is the same spacecraft that took the closest picture of Pluto in 2015.
- Pale Blue Dot remained the most distant photograph and its record was undisputed until these new photos were taken in December 2017.
- The image pale blue dot was the result of a photography technique known as composite photography were 60 different images were used to create it.
- Soon after the Pale Blue Dot was captured, the camera on Voyager 1 was shut down.
- The New Horizon spacecraft, however, is expected to capture more images of the outermost area of our solar system. According to NASA on January 1st, 2019 the New Horizon will encounter with 2014 MU69 which is a Kuiper Belt object that is 1 billion miles away from Pluto!
- The new image was taken at a distance of 3.79 billion miles away from earth
Do you know that the spacecraft New Horizon covers a distance of 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles) each day?
Voyager, the deep space explorer spacecraft has reached at the edge of the solar system. According to NASA the Voyager 1 reached at a region in space where the intensity of charged particles from beyond our solar system has remarkably increased. Scientists says that these charged particles that Voyager 1 came across are from stars outside of our solar system that have exploded in the galaxy.
Voyager 1 and Voyage 2 are the most distant man-made object in space. These space crafts were launched into the deep space in 1997.
*Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
From January 2009 to January 2012, there had been a gradual increase of about 25 percent in the amount of galactic cosmic rays Voyager was encountering. When the Voyagers launched in 1977, the space age was all of 20 years old. Many of us on the team dreamed of reaching interstellar space, but we really had no way of knowing how long a journey it would be — or if these two vehicles that we invested so much time and energy in would operate long enough to reach it.
– Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology
US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is launching a new space vehicle to reach Mars. The vehicle, named as “Curiosity” will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“Curiosity” weighs a tone and has six wheels, however it’s a dwarf-size vehicle equipped with instruments to find if there is or was any sign of life on Mars or any condition suitable for living organisms exists/ existed on the planet.
This robot is being launched by NASA on Saturday at 15;02 GMT.
The vehicle will be launched by Atlas 5 launch rocket. Technical experts and Space engineers found no fautlts in the vehicle after replacing a battery in Atlas 5 and weather conditions are also good at present.
This would complete, NASA’s long-cherished dream regarding the Red Planet.
There is a plutonium battery used in this instrument to provide ample power to the robot to keep it active for 10 years at least. However, there are chances that the robot might stop functioning before this.
The program called as Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has cost NASA $2.5 billion and has been subjected to severe criticism for budgetary burdens. However, the American space agency is very optimistic about the time when this vehicle would reach Mars’ surface after 8.5 months.
Shuttle Discovery Docks With Space Station for Final Time
NASA reported that the space shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station successfully on Saturday. The docking was riddled with a series of problems and that has pushed the crew’s schedule. The express logistic carrier now will be installed only on Sunday.
Hatches linking the shuttle to the station opened on Saturday at 4:16 pm and there was a welcome ceremony followed by a safety briefing. The shuttle Discovery is on a 11 day mission and will deliver a storage module, a rig and some spare parts to the six occupants of the space station.
The mission is headed by Steve Lindsey.
Interestingly the shuttle took off on Thursday afternoon from the Kennedy Space center, but not before the count down was forced to be stopped at five as there was a ‘computer problem’. The journey was not without problems. Four pieces of foam were noticed flying from the shuttle after it took off. NASA scientists didn’t foresee any problems from foams at that altitude. However, two astronauts aboard the shuttle have taken pictures of the thermal protection system for scanning for ruling out any damages.
The astronauts will move several items brought in the logistic career. A space walk is scheduled on Monday. During this, astronauts Alvin Drew and Steve Bowen will perform several operations including the installation of a power extension cable. The shuttle crew will attach a permanent module – Leonardo – to the space station.
The shuttle Discovery has so far carried crew members. It has circled the Earth 5,628 times spending 352 days in the orbit. It is sad that this will be its last mission.
SpaceX Falcon 9 heavy-lift launch vehicle
NASA is hopeful to launch rockets for international space station. The organization is set to test it SpaceX Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station situated in Florida.
After successful completion of the test, the device will circle around the earth and sink down in the Pacific Ocean after finishing its tasks. SpaceX Falcon 9 was first tried in the early morning around 9 am but could not take off due to some technical fault. Later it was re-launched after 90 minutes.
This space rocket is being tested for the first time and right now unmanned. NASA however, plans to send humans later on and use the rocket as a cargo to space station.
The United States is very enthusiastic about the launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 and earn from the commercial space industry. The US government further plans to send astronauts to Mars using these rockets.
The incumbent President, Barack Obama tried to increase funds for NASA space projects but could not succeed due to severe resistance from his opponents.
SpaceX is a commercial space company owned by Elon Musk. The company started its venture with a launch of Dragon 9.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 has cost 1 billion of which NASA funded only $253 million.
The launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 is considered a very fast and cheaper venture than previous projects.