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Galileo

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The primary mission goals of the Galileo Mission were to study the chemical composition of the Jovian atmosphere and satellites, and to study the magnetotail. In particular, the probe was going to measure the molecular, elemental and isotopic composition of the atmosphere, composition of the cloud particles, circulation and dynamics, heat balance and the temperature and pressure structure. The goal of the satellite observations was to look at the geological evolution, mineral distribution, gravitational and magnetic fields, existence of atmospheres, and to study the interaction of the satellites with the Jovian magnetosphere. The extended Europa mission will not only fly by Europa 7 more times, but includes 4 Calliso encounters, and a couple close Io flybys. The goal of the extended mission is a focused follow-on which will also serve as preparation for future Europa missions. The major objectives include a characterization of the crust, atmosphere and possible ocean of Europa, and to map the Io plasma torus while an intensive investigation of the volcanic processes on Io are ongoing.

Important Mission Milestones

  • Oct. 18, 1989 - Launch (Atlantic Space Shuttle Orbiter)
  • Jul. 13, 1995 - Probe released
  • Dec. 7, 1995 - arrival at Jupiter
  • Jun. 27, 1996 - Galileo's first encounter with Ganymede
  • End of primary mission, begin the Europa Extended Mission

Role of the IRTF in Mission Support

  • Observation of Galileo Probe Entry site
  • Ground-Based monitoring of volcanic activity on Io
  • Ground-based observations of the Jovian atmosphere to look at temporal evolution and global context
  • Observations of the Io flux tube


Last Updated on December 16, 1999

This page has been visited times since October 1999.
Karen Meech, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
meech@.ifa.hawaii.edu