The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, riding an Atlas 5 rocket into space from a pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft only had enough power to reach the asteroid belt before the sun's gravity pulled it back toward the inner solar system. As such, mission planners had to chart a circuitous route for Juno to get it to its destination.
The spacecraft flew past Earth two months ago as a "gravity assist" to increase the spacecraft's velocity relative to the sun. This slingshot around our planet boosted Juno from a speed of 78,000 mph (126,000 km/h) relative to the sun to a speed of 87,000 mph (140,000 km/h).
As it zipped past the planet, the spacecraft's JunoCam also captured a stunning picture of Earth with a higher resolution than the newly released images.
Mission officials say Juno is now on course to arrive in a polar orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The spacecraft is supposed to circle the planet 33 times, using its instruments to peer beneath the dense cloud cover that hides our solar system's largest planet.
Article and photo: news.yahoo.com/39-starship-vie…
The article is also at Space.com