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We’ll miss you, Galileo

  1. Sep 22, 2003 #1

    Phobos

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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
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/09/21/galileo.crash/index.html
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/09/19/coolsc.farewell.galileo/index.html

    SUMMARY TIMELINE
    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.

    SOME OF ITS MANY SUCCESSES
    - - 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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  3. Sep 22, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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