Juno got the gravity boost it needed to send it onward to its Jupiter encounter in July 2016 but not without a hitch. It whizzed just 350 miles above Earth’s surface yesterday afternoon, but when it emerged from the planet’s shadow into sunlight, scientists discovered the probe has put itself in “safe mode” to protect its instruments and systems.
While everything’s still running smoothly, engineers are trying to figure out what happened so they can get the craft back into normal operating mode. It’s uncertain whether Juno accomplished all its planned observations during the flyby which included taking pictures of the Earth-moon system and gathering information about Earth’s magnetic field and auroras. Hopefully we’ll know soon. One thing’s for sure – it remains on course to Jupiter.