We’ll miss you, Galileo


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On Sunday afternoon, September 21, 2003, the Galileo spacecraft was plunged into Jupiter at over 100,000 miles per hour, thereby ending one of NASA’s most successful planetary missions yet.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/galileo_finale_030921.html [Broken]

1977 – congressional approval of the mission
1989 – launch from the Space Shuttle Atlantis
1990 – flybys/gravity assists of/from Venus & Earth
1991 – flyby of the asteroid Gaspra in the asteroid belt
1992 – second Earth flyby/gravity assist
1993 – flyby of the asteroid Ida + Dactyl
1995 – achieved orbit around Jupiter
2002 – final scientific mission (flyby of the small moon Amalthea)
2003 - End of mission. Kept on sending data until the end.

- - Completed 35 orbits of Jupiter instead of just the planned 11
- - En route to Jupiter, it completed successful flybys & measurements of the Earth, Venus, & 2 asteroids
- - At Jupiter ,it withstood much more radiation than it was designed to take
- - Achieved the majority of its science objectives and made a number of serendipitous discoveries along the way
- - First close-up images of an asteroid (Gaspra)
- - First discovery of a tiny moon in orbit around an asteroid (Ida & Dactyl)
- - Imaged the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact (views of the planet's far side that would have otherwise remained unseen)
- - Found evidence that three of Jupiter’s moons (Callisto, Europa and Ganymede) have liquid oceans (which led to speculations that they could harbor ET life)
- - Galileo released a probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere which transmitted data about the planet's chemical composition, winds, clouds and natural radiation environment.
- - Well over 10,000 images taken
- - Helped chart the structure of Jupiter’s Gossamer Ring (yes, Jupiter has rings too!)
- - First flyby of the small moon Amalthea
- - Found ~300 volcanoes on the moon Io
- - Overcame several technical problems (main antenna malfunction, damages from Jupiter’s extreme radiation, etc.)
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Ivan Seeking

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Science Advisor
Gold Member

Bye bye

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