Galileo plunged into Jupiter's crushing atmosphere on Sept. 21, 2003. The spacecraft
was deliberately destroyed to protect one of its own discoveries - a possible ocean beneath the
icy crust of the moon Europa.
Galileo changed the way we look at our solar system. The spacecraft was the first to fly past
an asteroid and the first to discover a moon of an asteroid. It provided the only direct
observations of a comet colliding with a planet.
Galileo was the first to measure Jupiter's atmosphere with a descent probe and the first to
conduct long-term observations of the Jovian system from orbit. It found evidence of subsurface
saltwater on Europa, Ganymede and Callisto and revealed the intensity of volcanic activity on
Read on to learn more about the historic legacy of the Galileo mission.