Juno Spacecraft's Odd Trajectory

The image below details Juno's trajectory.  Each tick on the path represents 30 days.  At first, it may seem odd, but take a close look.

Juno will be travel away from Earth for a year, passing Mars, and slowing down until it reaches its max distance.  Then it will return to us, using a combination of the Sun's and Earth's gravity to accelerate, doing a flyby in October of 2013.  Notice how much faster it is moving at that point.

From there it is a nearly 23 month journey to meet up with Jupiter, using the Sun's gravity to curve it as it goes, meeting Jupiter in July 2016.

Sometimes you need to plan ahead