The routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well" galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on December 5 past year, was taken when New Horizons was 6.12 billion kilometres from Earth, NASA said. That picture, the brainchild of the late physicist Carl Sagan, looked back at Earth from a distance of 3.75 billion miles. NASA says Voyager 1's cameras were turned off after that, so its photography record has been unchallenged for more than 27 years. Just two hours before taking the record-breaking images of the Kuiper Belt objects, it took an image of a star cluster called the "Wishing Well", which is now the second-farthest image from Earth ever taken. New Horizons' encounter with Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which orbits a billion miles beyond Pluto, will offer the first close-up look at such a pristine building block of the solar system - and will be performed in a region of deep space that was practically unknown just a generation ago.
New Horizons willI become the first to do a fly-by of one of the many mysterious Kuiper Belt objects when it will come in close range of "Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69" shortly after midnight on January 1, 2019.
The New Horizons spacecraft is healthy and is now in hibernation.
Launched in 2006, the New Horizons mission stayed true to its name. By then, it will have time to beat again and again it own record of farthest image ever taken from earth. After a brief encounter with asteroid 132524 APL, New Horizons proceeded to Jupiter, making its closest approach on February 28, 2007, at a distance of 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles).
One of LORRI's pictures shows the "Wishing Well" star cluster, a scattering of points of light that New Horizons could use for camera calibration purposes.
New Horizons is reportedly healthy and everything is functioning as planned. (Pluto is one of these dwarf planets.) 2014 MU69 is almost a billion miles beyond Pluto, which itself is 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion km) beyond Earth.
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia describing the New Horizons spacecraft. 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.