Sunday, September 21, 2003

Goodbye Galileo Today, the Galileo spacecraft will complete its final task of its eight year long mission to the outer planets. Its final task will commence with a skip across Jupiter's atmosphere, before plunging into the gas giant. Galileo will continue sending data as long as it can. Despite early problems with the spacecraft, Galileo has performed exceedingly well, and it is probably one of NASA's most successful spacecraft. It has sent back a wealth of information that still hasn't been sifted through by researchers yet. Some highlights include its witness of the largest recorded explosion, with a comet plunging into Jupiter; the first picture taken of an asteroid with a moon; many close flybys of the moons of Jupiter, including one where it flew through a volcanic plume. But, like all human made things, it must come to an end ... and today, it's the end for Galileo. (I wonder what Galileo would have thought of his namesake?)

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