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September 16, 2013 - Galileo is Gone

Galileo is Gone Launched in 1989, Galileo traveled the inner solar system for six years to build up speed, swinging past Venus and Earth on its way to Jupiter, and exploring two asteroids along the way. Arriving at Jupiter in 1995, Galileo released a probe into the gas giant’s atmosphere, returning the first “hands-on” measurements of Jupiter. Galileo orbited Jupiter thirty-five times through 2003, shedding new light on its moons, its ring system, and its turbulent, dynamic atmosphere, shown here in false color to exaggerate the composition and altitude of different cloud layers. Its mission completed, Galileo was intentionally “ditched” into Jupiter ten years ago this week to prevent possible biological contamination of Europa, which Galileo showed is likely to harbor sub-surface water oceans and, possibly, life.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

Weekly Calendar

September 16-22, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 16

1848: First observation of Hyperion, moon of Saturn
1996: STS-79 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Tuesday 17

Neptune 6° south of Moon

1789: William Herschel discovers Mimas
1857: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky born
1930: Ed Mitchell born
1959: First powered flight of X-15
1976: First rollout of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Wednesday 18

1964: Saturn SA-7 launched
1977: Voyager 1 takes photo of Earth and Moon together in space
2006: Anousheh Ansari becomes first woman space tourist
2013: Cygnus 1 supply ship launched to ISS

Moon phase Thursday 19

Full Moon 7:13 AM ET
Venus 4° south of Saturn

Moon phase Friday 20

Pluto and Juno appear stationary
Uranus 3° south of Moon

1945: Wernher von Braun arrives in United States
1966: Surveyor 2 launched
1970: Luna 16 lands on Moon
1979: HEAO-3 launched
1988: Israel launches its first satellite

Moon phase Saturday 21

1866: H. G. Wells born
: Gustav Holst born
1974: Mariner 10 flies by Mercury for second time
2003: Galileo mission ends

Moon phase Sunday 22

Fall Equinox 4:44 PM ET

1990: Pioneer 10 reaches 50 AU from Sun
2006: Hinode spacecraft launched

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