This is how Earth and moon would look to alien spaceships

NASA's Juno spacecraft records footage showing how our planet and its satellite would look if visiting UFOs had really low-res cameras.

Juno flyby
Juno was spinning at 2 revolutions per minute when it caught these low-res images of Earth from 600,000 miles away. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

You could say NASA's Juno is a bit of a sentimental spacecraft. When it took off for Jupiter, revving up its speed by 8,800 mph, it couldn't help but grab some farewell shots of its home.

For a home movie filmed from 600,000 miles away, the footage may be grainy, but it's also spectacular.

Earth and the moon are captured in a low-resolution dance set against the inky void of infinite space beyond them. This is what we'd look like to curious UFOs.

Captured by Juno's Magnetic Field Investigation cameras, which are used to track faint stars, our planet's satellite is seen in blurry rotation while the moon orbits far away. Juno was about three times the distance of Earth and the moon.

"If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, 'Take us home, Scotty,' this is what the crew would see," Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator, said in a release.

"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."

"During the flyby, timing was everything," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says on its YouTube page.

"Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn't make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format."

Meanwhile, Juno received Morse code greetings from amateur radio operators on Earth. The eerie hellos were recorded and processed -- listen here.

Launched in 2011, Juno is due for a rendezvous with Jupiter in 2016, when it will begin to probe the gas giant's cloud cover. The object is to learn more about the planet's atmosphere, magnetosphere, and internal structure.

Check out the Juno footage below, set to an original score by Vangelis.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Mac running slow?

Boost your computer with these five useful tips that will clean up the clutter.