The routine calibration frame of the "Wishing Well" open star cluster was taken when the spacecraft was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion km) from Earth - making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from our planet.
But NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now broken that record, sending back several photos from the Kuiper Belt, a region of the outer Solar System beyond Neptune.
"New Horizons has always been a mission of firsts - first to explore Pluto, first to explore the Kuiper Belt, fastest spacecraft ever launched", New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern said, according to NASA. This image is, for now, one of the farthest pictures from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft.
In December - while 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometres) from Earth - the New Horizons spacecraft snapped a picture of a star cluster. To send its recent images of the KBOs, Stern tells Pappas, it took the craft four hours just to transmit the data and another six hours for that information to reach Earth, where NASA's Deep Space Network is able to gather the faint signal. From here on out, every image it sends back will be the most distant image ever sent back. Two hours later, it broke the record again with two images of KBOs that are also the closest-up image ever taken of any such object.
Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.
"With New Horizons, all that has changed", NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.
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According to reports, the craft achieved the major milestone while drifting farther and farther through the outer boundaries of the solar system late previous year.
To date, New Horizons is the fifth spacecraft to venture beyond the outer planets.
The targeted object is known as 2014 MU69; the spacecraft will pass within 2,175 miles (3,500 kilometres).
For now, though, New Horizons is now enjoying some well-deserved hibernation as it hurtles away from us at a rate of roughly 700,000 miles a day.
New Horizons continues to exceed expectations in its space wanderings. NASA said the spacecraft is expected to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets and "Centaurs", former KBOs in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets.
Were you impressed by New Horizons' achievement?