National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Missions
Galileo
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Galileo
Galileo Mission to Venus Galileo Mission to Earth Galileo Mission to Asteroids Galileo Mission to Comets Galileo Mission to Jupiter

Goals: Galileo used Earth's gravity to help it build up enough speed to hurl itself toward Jupiter. But the Earth flyby provided a chance to use the spacecraft's instruments to study Earth from a unique perspective.

Accomplishments: The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of life on Earth. Not a surprising discovery, but the use of instruments to detect traces of life in a planet's atmosphere will be useful as future space probes continue to seek evidence of life beyond Earth.

Galileo's cameras captured unique never-before-seen views of Antarctica and also the Earth and Moon together - a glimpse at what someone from another world might see as they approached our little piece of the solar system.

   

Banner says visit the Galileo Legacy Site
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
People Spotlight
Bruce Murray Bruce Murray
Bruce Murray was the fifth director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Read More...
Headlines
Links
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 30 Aug 2013