US NAVAL OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US NAVAL OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artist's impression of the Galileo spaceprobe as it nears Jupiter and the orbiter releases its atmospheric probe. Fifty six days before reaching Jupiter the orbiter will release the probe to enter the planet's atmosphere on the sunlit side. The probe will study the atmosphere during its 30 minute long descent, whilst the orbiter will go on to circle Jupiter for at least 20 months, studying the planet and its satellites. Galileo was due to be launched by the Shuttle in May 1986, but, because of the loss of Challenger and subsequent grounding of the Shuttle, has missed its launch window. Its future is now uncertain.
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