Discoveries of the Galileo

The Galileo was launched towards Jupiter in 1989, beginning a 14 year life of scientific discoveries. The spacecraft took the first close up image of an asteroid, discovered the first moon orbiting an asteroid, was the first to witness a comet plummet into a planet, and sent scientists many measurements and studies of Jupiter.

It also made the discovery that caused its own downfall. Running out of fuel, the Galileo discovered that Jupiter’s moon Europa had water and possibly life, prompting scientists to crash the spacecraft into Jupiter’s atmosphere to avoid possible contamination of the moon.

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By Don Davis (Donald Davis’ official site.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons