On October 9th, 2013, NASA’s Juno mission completed an Earth ‘flyby’ to gain a little extra velocity (a gravitational slingshot maneuver that steals a tiny bit of Earth’s momentum) to get it to Jupiter in 2016.
On October 9th, 2013, NASA's Juno mission completed an Earth 'flyby' to gain a little extra velocity (a gravitational slingshot maneuver that steals a tiny bit of Earth's momentum) to get it to Jupiter in 2016. Here's the mission's course trajectory in this first panel.
Juno mission timeline/trajectory (NASA)
Right now the spacecraft is again moving away from the Earth, streaking across the inner solar system at 38 kilometers per second in a heliocentric frame.
The precise location as of today is shown in this second panel. Juno has crossed Earth's orbit, heading downwind of the Sun.
But before it bid farewell to Earth it took a slew of images; nothing that we haven't seen before, and simply a checkout of the science instruments, but special and slightly melancholy because the photographer will never again return home. Bon voyage Juno.
Farewell Earth (Juno - NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Caleb A. Scharf is director of astrobiology at Columbia University. He is author and co-author of more than 100 scientific research articles in astronomy and astrophysics. His work has been featured in publications such as New Scientist, Scientific American, Science News, Cosmos Magazine, Physics Today and National Geographic. For many years he wrote the Life, Unbounded blog for Scientific American. Follow Caleb A. Scharf on Twitter