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Galileo spacecraft at Europa and Jupiter, illustration

Galileo spacecraft at Europa and Jupiter, illustration

C041/5572

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Credit

NASA / JPL-CALTECH / UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Galileo spacecraft at Europa and Jupiter, illustration. This spacecraft was launched in 1989, and entered orbit around Jupiter (far left) in 1995 to study the Jovian system. It also made detailed studies of some of Jupiter's moons, and is shown here passing through a plume erupting from the Jovian moon Europa (centre right). The magnetic field lines (blue) show how the plume interacts with the ambient flow of Jovian plasma. The red-green-yellow colours show more dense areas of plasma. Just over one metre wide, the spacecraft sent back a huge amount of scientific data about the Jovian system. When it ran out of fuel, it could have crashed into and contaminated a Jovian moon. To avoid this, it was crashed into Jupiter's upper atmosphere on 21 September 2003.

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