Galileo - Countdown to Europa
16 Nov 1998
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
It is now 5 days and 10 hours to the Galileo spacecraft's next encounter with Europa.
A special Countdown to Europa home page is available on the Galileo Home Page:
Launched in October 1989, Galileo entered orbit around Jupiter in December 1995, and completed its primary 2 year orbital tour around the solar system's largest planet. Galileo has embarked on a two-year extended mission, called Galileo Europa Mission (GEM). During GEM, Galileo will make 8 close flybys of Europa, four flybys of Callisto, and two close encounters with Io provided the spacecraft is still alive.
The seventh encounter for GEM is scheduled for Europa on November 22, 1998 at 11:47 UT. With a diameter of 3,138 km, Europa is slighty smaller than our own Moon and is the smoothest object in the solar system. On Galileo's previous encounters with Europa, evidence of a possible ocean were found, including the discovery of ice volcanoes (none active), probable icebergs, and salt deposits on the surface. Galileo will continue its attempt to find additional evidence of a liquid ocean underneath Europa's icy crust and look for signs of active volcanism on the moon's young surface. On the upcoming encounter, the spacecraft will pass by Europa at a distance of 2,281 km, which is over 320 times closer than Voyager's closest approach. Galileo will also take in observations of Jupiter, Io and Ganymede.
Highlights of the Countdown to Europa home page:
- A virtual flyby of Europa with computer-generated approach images of Jupiter and Europa displayed at the top of the home page. These images are all updated every 5 minutes.
- Flyby animation of the Europa 18 flyby.
- Daily Galileo status reports reporting on the Europa 18 encounter.
- Fact sheets and Europa, Callisto and Io.
- A detailed timeline of events and sequences that the spacecraft will perform for the Europa 18 encounter.
- Voyager 1 & 2 images of Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io.
- Hubble Space Telescope images of the Galilean satellites.
- Pioneer 10 & 11 images of Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io.