While en route to the Kuiper Belt and just two hours after taking the record-breaking routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well", the spacecraft broke its own record by capturing images of the KBOs 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85.
Artist's impression of New Horizons encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. At the time of shooting the space station was at a distance of 6.12 billion kilometers from Earth.
In July of 2015, the New Horizons mission made history by being the first spacecraft to rendezvous with Pluto.
New Horizons has observed several objects in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region of icy debris that extends far beyond the orbit of Neptune.
In the course of its extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, the New Horizons team seeks to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets and "Centaurs" - i.e. former KBOs that have unstable orbits that cause them to cross the orbit of the gas giants. "The spacecraft also is making almost continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along its path", it added.
Well, New Horizons has outdone itself again, setting a record for the farthest photos ever taken from Earth.
According to the press release, New Horizons is now back in hibernation mode and will reawaken on June 4 to begin preparations for a January 1, 2019 rendezvous with 2014 MU69, which is almost a billion miles beyond Pluto. In astronomical units (AUs) - a measurement of the average distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun - it was 40.9 AUs away.
The latter shows a look at Kuiper Belt objects HZ84 and 2012 HE85.
This image, taken by New Horizons on December 5, 2017, shows the "Wishing Well" Galactic open star cluster.
New Horizons is sleeping now, resting up for its next big adventure. The next time scientists plan to bring it back online will be June 4, when the spacecraft will start preparing for a close encounter with a KBO named 2014 MU69 that's expected to happen on January 1, 2019.
New Horizons covers more than 1.1 million km of space each day (KBO).
"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", says principal investigator Alan Stern, a planetary scientist the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, in the release.