Remember how on Star Trek, you’d always see each new planet in that big view screen on the bridge of the starship? Check out this starship-like view of Earth, taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it flew past Earth on October 9, 2013.
Juno received a boost in speed from Earth of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometers per second). That boost will enable Juno to rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4, 2016
Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, said in a December 10, 2013 press release:
If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, ‘Take us home, Scotty,’ this is what the crew would see. In the movie, you ride aboard Juno as it approaches Earth and then soars off into the blackness of space.
No previous view of our world has ever captured the heavenly waltz of Earth and moon.
Want more? Check out the two-minute movie below:
Juno’s Waves instrument – which will measure radio and plasma waves in Jupiter’s magnetosphere beginning in 2016 – recorded amateur radio signals during Juno’s October 2013 Earth flyby. Ham radio operators from around the world were invited to say “HI” to Juno by coordinating radio transmissions that carried the same Morse-coded message. Operators from every continent, including Antarctica, participated. The results can be seen in this video clip.
Bottom line: The Juno spacecraft captured an intriguing view of the Earth and moon as it swept past on October 9, 2013. The view is reminiscent of what a passing starship – from another world – might see! With the Earth flyby completed, Juno is now on course for arrival at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.