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Galileo
Galileo Mission to Venus Galileo Mission to Earth Galileo Mission to Asteroids Galileo Mission to Comets Galileo Mission to Jupiter

Goals: Closing in on Jupiter - the mission's primary science target - Galileo got another unexpected science opportunity when astronomers spotted comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hurtling toward a collision with the giant planet. It was humanity's first chance to observe a collision between a comet and planet.

Accomplishments: Galileo provided the only direct observations of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's spectacular impact with Jupiter on July 16-22, 1994. Earth-based astronomers had to wait to see the impact sites as they rotated into view.

Galileo's images, while fuzzy, revealed the shocking power of the collision.

   

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Key Dates
18 Oct 1989:  Launch (16:53:40 UT)
7 Dec 1995:  Probe Descent (22:04 UT - 23:02 UT)
21 Sep 2003:  Jupiter Impact (18:57:18 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Galileo Facts Galileo was launched from the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The spacecraft traveled more than 4.6 billion km (about 2.8 billion miles) during its 14-year mission.

Galileo was named in honor of Galileo Galilei (above), who discovered the largest moons of Jupiter in 1610.

The spacecraft was the first to orbit a gas giant planet.

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.
Science & Technology Features
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Scott Bolton Scott Bolton
"Juno is a mission of discovery that could very well rewrite the books on not only how Jupiter was born, but how our solar system came into being." Read More...
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Last Updated: 30 Aug 2013