Rescuing Galileo

On the 8th of December 1992, NASA's Galileo spacecraft will skim the upper atmosphere 300 kilometres above the Atlantic Ocean before beginning the final leg of its journey to Jupiter. Galileo is the most expensive planetary spacecraft ever built. However, to NASA's embarrassment, the failure of its main antenna to open seriously jeopardises its ability to relay high quality pictures of Jupiter and its moons back to Earth. According to a source at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, home of the Galileo project, engineers have devised a plan to photograph the faulty antenna as Galileo passes Earth. The plan involves high-altitude tracker planes, military KH-11 reconnaissance satellites, ground based lasers and perhaps a newly launched shuttle. Officially NASA denies that they are taking this photo opportunity. But the source is adamant that the plan will go ahead.

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