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September, 2003

Celebrating the Galileo Spacecraft!

The Galileo Spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter since December 7, 1995. On September 21, 2003, NASA will intentionally crash Galileo into Jupiter's atmosphere.


"I love my Galileo teddy bear. I take him to school, to bed, to the park, and everywhere. Galileo is my best friend. I picked Galileo as my teddy bear because I like to learn about the Galileo who looked at Jupiter." -- Sam, 10 years old.

Galileo, the bear     Galileo, the person

>>Read about Galileo Galilei
>>Read about the times in which Galileo lived
>>Browse our Galileo's Books
>>View Photos of Galileo
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

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Galileo, the Bear, in front of a model of Galileo, the spacecraft, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

>>Read about Galileo Galilei
>>Read about the times in which Galileo lived
>>Browse our Galileo's Books
>>View Photos of Galileo
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

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Jupiter (Watts Library)
Another great book from the Watts Library. Read all about Jupiter, study the diagrams, and be amazed by the photographs. There's a glossary and list of additional resources to find out more. If you like this book, be sure to get other Watts Library books including The Sun, Venus, Mars, and Saturn.

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Question:
Which of the following spacecrafts have flown by Jupiter?
a) Galileo
b) Ulysses
c) Cassini
d) All of the above

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Did you know Galileo (the spacecraft) was named after Galileo (the astronomer)?

Yes. Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer who lived from 1564 to 1642. He discovered Jupiter's four largest moons in 1610. They are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Today, these moons are named after Galileo and are known as the Galilean moons.

Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's moons helped prove the Copernican theory that the earth revolves around the sun. People knew the moon revolved around the earth. They thought if the moon revolved around the earth, then the sun must also revolve around the earth. However, Galileo's discovery of four moons revolving around Jupiter proved one object in space can revolve around a second object in space while the second object revolves around a third object in space. To put it in a more simple way, it proved the moon can revolve around the earth while the earth revolves around the sun.

After Copernicus and Galileo, we know the earth revolves around the sun.

Galileo

>>Read about Galileo Galilei
>>Read about the times in which Galileo lived
>>Browse our Galileo's Books
>>View Photos of Galileo
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

Archives - Did You Know…

 


Galileo Galilei is my hero. He was an amazing astronomer. I admire all his discoveries about the planets, the moon, and the sun. I am especially impressed by his discovery of the moons of Jupiter. -- Carol L. from Rhode Island

Galileo

>>Read about Galileo Galilei
>>Read about the times in which Galileo lived
>>Browse our Galileo's Books
>>View Photos of Galileo
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

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Question:
Why is Galileo going to crash into Jupiter in 2003?


Full-size Galileo spacecraft model on display in the von Kármán Visitors' Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Answer:
On October 18, 1989, Galileo was launched from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. On December 7, 1995, Galileo entered the orbit of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. It flew its prime mission for two years, ending in 1997. Galileo was capable of gathering more information, and NASA extended Galileo's mission three times.

Now, the onboard supply of propellant is almost gone. The propellant is needed to keep the antenna pointed towards Earth. Without the propellant and the antenna, NASA could not control the trajectory or the spacecraft.

Therefore, NASA will intentionally put Galileo on a course to plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere on September 21, 2003. One of the reasons for this is so Galileo will not impact Europa because NASA wants to study Europa in the future without any disruption from Galileo.

>>Read about Galileo Galilei
>>Read about the times in which Galileo lived
>>Browse our Galileo's Books
>>View Photos of Galileo
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

Question:
Which of the following spacecrafts have flown by Jupiter?
a) Galileo
b) Ulysses
c) Cassini
d) All of the above

Answer:
d) All of the above. Did you know seven spacecrafts have flown by Jupiter? They are Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Galileo, Ulysses, and Cassini.

Pioneer 10 was launched on March 2, 1972, on top of an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4 launch vehicle. It was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt and reach the outer solar system. Its primary mission was to directly observe and photograph Jupiter and its moons, and to take measurements of Jupiter's magnetosphere and radiation environment. Pioneer 10 passed by Jupiter on December 3, 1973, and took the first close-up images of Jupiter. Did you know these measurements were crucial in designing the later Voyager and Galileo spacecrafts? Currently, Pioneer 10 is heading into Interstellar Space. Did you know it is the second farthest human-made object in space? Voyager 1 is the farthest. Read More.

Pioneer 11 was launched on April 5, 1973, on top of an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4 launch vehicle. It was the second spacecraft to visit Jupiter and the outer solar system. Pioneer 11 passed by Jupiter on December 2, 1974, and took photographs of the Great Red Spot, made the first observation of Jupiter's polar regions, and determined the mass of Callisto (one of Jupiter's Moons). Next, Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn. It encountered Saturn on September 1, 1979. Did you know it took the first close-up pictures of Saturn and discovered two small moons and an addition ring? In November, 1995, contact was lost with Pioneer 11. Read More.

Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan-Centaur expendable rocket. Its primary mission was to make a close flyby of Jupiter and Saturn. Its extended mission is to explore the Solar System beyond the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun's sphere of influence and possibly beyond. It is called the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Did you know Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space in 1998? Read More.

Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan-Centaur expendable rocket. (It was launched before Voyager 1). Its primary mission was to make a close flyby of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Its extended mission is to explore the Solar System beyond the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun's sphere of influence and possibly beyond. It is called the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Read More.

Galileo was launched on October 18, 1989, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Its mission is to study Jupiter and its moons in more detail than any previous spacecraft. Galileo arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995. Did you know its mission will end with a controlled impact into Jupiter on September 21, 2003? Read More.

Ulysses was launched on October 6, 1990, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. Its mission is to explore the Sun's north and south poles. Ulysses passed Jupiter on February 8, 1992. Did you know it used Jupiter's large gravitational field to accelerate it out of the ecliptic plane so it could reach high latitudes? Read More.

Cassini was launched on October 15, 1997, from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, aboard the Titan IV-B/Centaur launch vehicle. Its mission is to get a better understanding of Saturn, its rings, its magnetosphere (a vast bubble of charged particles surrounding the planet), its principal moon Titan, and its other moons or "icy satellites." In December, 2000, both the Cassini and Galileo spacecrafts observed Jupiter during the Jupiter Millennium Flyby. It is unusual to have two spacecrafts on separate missions observing the same planet (other than the Earth), at the same time, from a close range. On July 1, 2004, Cassini will enter Saturn's orbit. Did you know Cassini will encounter Saturn after traveling 2 billion miles for over 6 years? Read More.

>>Read about missions to Jupiter
>>Visit the JPL Photo Gallery - Galileo

       

 

 

 


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