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August 27, 2018 - When Galileo Met Ida

When Galileo Met Ida  Looping through the inner solar system on a fuel-saving trajectory, the Galileo spacecraft took the scenic route to Jupiter. Launched in 1989, Galileo cruised by Venus to get a gravity boost and then passed Earth twice to build more speed for the final push to Jupiter. By 1991 it had already passed close to asteroid Gaspra, and 25 years ago this week it passed by a second asteroid, Ida. In this series of false-color images, Ida rotates head over heels and comes into increasingly sharper focus as Galileo makes its closest approach at a distance of 2,500 km (1,500 mi). Ida is a 60-km-long (36-mi-long), crater-covered asteroid of irregular shape. Galileo also revealed that Ida has a small moon that orbits it. Dactyl, as it was named, is 1.6 km (1 mi) wide and is the first known asteroid moon.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / USGS

Weekly Calendar

August 27 - September 2, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 27

Neptune 2° north of Moon

1962: Mariner 2 launched
1984: Teacher In Space program announced
1985: STS-51I Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 28

Mars appears stationary

1789: William Herschel discovers Enceladus, moon of Saturn
1993: Galileo spacecraft flies by asteroid Ida
2009: STS-128 Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 29

Moon phase Thursday 30

Uranus 5° north of Moon

1963: Lunar Orbiter program approved by NASA
1983: STS-8 Challenger launched; first night shuttle launch
1984: STS-41D Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 31

Moon phase Saturday 1

1964: First Titan IIIA launched
1979: Pioneer 11 becomes first spacecraft to fly past Saturn

Moon phase Sunday 2

Venus 1.4° S of Spica
Aldebaran 1.2° S of Moon
Last Qtr Moon 10:37 PM ET

2015Soyuz TMA-18M launched carrying ISS Expedition 45/46 crew

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.