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Music of the Spheres
Color illustration of Galileo spacecraft entering Jupiter's atmospehere.
An artist's impression of the Galileo orbiter beginning to burn up in Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo's 14-year mission to explore the Jovian system ended on Sept. 21, 2003 when the spacecraft was deliberately sent into Jupiter's atmosphere.

Editor's Note: The Galileo mission team wrote these songs back in 1995. They are presented here as a historical record of an amazing, historic mission and have not been updated to reflect the latest knowledge about Jupiter, the Galileo mission and our solar system. Enjoy.

The Galileo team has an honorable tradition of commemorating important mission events by writing songs about them. For starters, here are a few numbers that were written for a recent outer planets lunchtime event.

Sung to the tune of "Jambalaya (on the Bayou)"
Original words & music by Hank Williams

Well, hello Jove!
We're on the go.
We're on the go
then we'll stay-o.
Moons indeed!
and Callisto
Son of a gun,
gonna have good fun
seein' Io!


Arrival day,
(A) month away
Got a lotta
things to do
on that day-o.
Probe data,
Son of gun,
gonna have good fun
seein' Io

Gonna be
in a sea
of radiation.
To explore
in no place for
a vacation.
Well, we'll eat some dust
if we must.
Son of a gun,
gonna have big fun
seein' Io.


Original words by Sheldon Harnick
Original music by Jerry Bock

Look, there's the little moon called Io
Rising up into the night sky
And all those sulfuric volcanoes
Catch my eye

Hey, didn't we just see that same moon
only 'bout ten hours ago?
Jupiter spins fast while the Earth spins slow

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly go the days
When you are living on Jupiter
nighttime is a very short phase

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly goes the night
One rotation and then another
Swirling clouds orange, brown and white

Original words & music by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne

It's a good Probe, comes from the Earth
from A-mes, and J-P-L too.
It's a good Probe, crazy 'bout science
Loves clo-ouds and lightning too.

It's a short trip gettin' to Jupiter
there's a ice ring crossin' through the sky
and it's a good thing, that I'm going to miss it
I'm a good Probe and I'm gonna fly.

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah, I'm free, free fallin'

All the satellites wanderin' through their orbits
move 'round and 'round (in) gravity's force
And all the bad rads are waitin' at Jupiter
All the good ones are in Io's torus.

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah, I'm free, free fallin'

Wanna glide down into the clo-uds
I wanna leave my streak in the sky
I'm gonna melt down, down into nothin'
(but) before then gonna transmit awhile

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah, I'm free, free fallin'

Sung to the tune of "When I'm Sixty-four"
Original words & music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

When I get older, losing my fuel
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me commands sometimes?
Thruster flushings, maneuver designs?

'Cause I've been out in outer space,
Where no one's gone before.

Will you still need me?
Will you still lead me?
Will I still explore?

You'll be bolder, too
And if you send the word
I'll downlink to you

I could orbit ol' Jupiter
Even Io, too
You can learn about the magnetosphere
See if any comets appear

Image Callisto
The Great Red Spot
Who could ask for more?

Will you still need me?
Will you still lead me?
Will I still explore?

Every orbit we can use propellant to perform a trim
Targets will be near
We shall scrimp and save
Orbits for years to come
If the valves behave

Send me some uploads
Link me some bits
Stating what to do
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
So I won't be wasting away

Give me your game plan
Access my core
Command lines to store

Will you still need me?
Will you still lead me?
Will I still explore?

Last Updated: 24 January 2011

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Last Updated: 24 Jan 2011