Jupiter-bound space probe captures Earth and Moon
The image was taken by the spacecraft’s camera, JunoCam, when the spacecraft was about 6 million miles (10 million kilometers) away.
September 1, 2011
On its way to the biggest planet in the solar system, Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft took time to capture its home planet and its natural satellite — the Moon.
This image of Earth (left) and the Moon (right) was taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft August 26, 2011, when the spacecraft was about 6 million miles (10 million kilometers) away. It was taken by the spacecraft's onboard camera, JunoCam. The solar-powered Juno spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida August 5 to begin a 5-year journey to Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely,” said Scott Bolton from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe. We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves.”
The spacecraft’s camera, JunoCam, captured the image August 26 when the spacecraft was about 6 million miles (10 million kilometers) away. The photo was taken as part of the mission team’s checkout of the Juno spacecraft. The team is conducting its initial detailed checks on the spacecraft’s instruments and subsystems after its launch on August 5.
Juno covered the distance from Earth to the Moon (about 250,000 miles [402,000 km]) in less than one day’s time. It will take the spacecraft another 5 years and 1,740 million miles (2,800 million km) to complete the journey to Jupiter. The spacecraft will orbit the planet’s poles 33 times and use its eight science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant’s obscuring cloud cover to learn more about its origins, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere, and look for a potentially solid planetary core.
The solar-powered Juno spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:25 p.m. EDT August 5 to begin its 5-year journey to Jupiter.