Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Planetary Science

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Science pp 258-263

Galileo mission

  • Karen Buxbaum

The Galileo spacecraft is in orbit about the planet Jupiter, to conduct an intensive and comprehensive investigation of the Jovian system using an atmospheric entry probe and a Jupiter orbiter (Figure G1). Galileo is instrumented to achieve much more than was possible with the Voyager (q.v.) flyby missions. The Galileo Probe has obtained the first in situ measurements of the Jupiter atmosphere, and the Galileo Orbiter is providing the first long-term close observations of the Jupiter system. The Orbiter encounters the Galilean satellites repeatedly and typically 100 times closer than Voyager did.
Figure G1

Galileo spacecraft configuration.

Jupiter, of all the planets, asteroids, comets and satellites, holds a prime key to understanding the evolution of the solar system. Essential to exploring the history of the solar system are measurements of elemental abundances — the chemical make-up of a variety of objects. Because it retains its primordial composition, J ...

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