So how does New Horizons send back images, even blurry ones, through all that space?
The New Horizons spacecraft is said to be in good condition and is now hibernating, with mission control planning to awaken it again on June 4 in preparation for a flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in mid-2019. At one billion miles beyond Pluto, that will be the farthest planetary encounter in history, according to NASA. The spacecraft is also making nearly continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment during its journey.
The New Horizons spacecraft is healthy and is now in hibernation.
Launched in 2006, New Horizons spacecraft is created to explore worlds at the our solar system.
Shortly after midnight Eastern Time on January 1, 2019 - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will buzz by the most primitive and most distant object ever explored. Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region beyond Neptune that extends from about 30 to 55 astronomical units from the Sun. Artist's impression of 2014 MU69. The probe is traveling further out from our solar system to study what's in the Kuiper Belt, which is generally made up of frozen masses of rock and ice. "New Horizons is on the hunt to understand these objects, and we invite everyone to ring in the next year with the excitement of exploring the unknown".
Talking about the new milestone images is New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, who said, "New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched". But they're arguably among the most unbelievable photographic images ever.
As with the hundreds of thousands of other small worlds in this zone of icy bodies, MU69 is shrouded in mystery.
New Horizons is reportedly healthy and everything is functioning as planned. The transmission rate for New Horizons is only about 2 kilobits per second. "We're going to see something that dates back to the formation of the solar system". It'll be the first up-close look of a Kuiper Belt object. They were captured 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers) from Earth in December.
The probe then followed that up with pictures of two objects floating in the Kuiper Belt, 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85. The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons' speed; the flyby also enabled a general test of New Horizons' scientific capabilities, returning data about the planet's atmosphere, moons, and magnetosphere. "The spacecraft is collecting data out there throughout each year while the mission team works together to plan and shape the MU69 flyby".
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