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Galileo Spacecraft
Galileo Spacecraft (click to enlarge)

Galileo Spacecraft

As it arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, NASA's Galileo orbiter received a stream of data transmissions -- represented by the blue dots in this artist's depiction -- from the atmospheric probe that was descending through Jupiter's clouds.

The orbiter had released the probe five months earlier. The wok-shaped probe sent information to the orbiter for 57.6 minutes as it dropped about 200 kilometers (125 miles) through the atmosphere, before succumbing to atmospheric pressure about 23 times greater than the average at Earth's sea level. The probe returned data about sunlight, heat flux, pressure, temperature, winds, lightning and atmospheric composition.

About one hour after the end of the probe's transmissions, the orbiter fired its main engine to brake into orbit around

Note: This illustration correctly shows the partially deployed main antenna.

Credit: JPL

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