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December 4, 2017 - Overtime for Galileo

Overtime for Galileo  After completing two years in orbit around Jupiter, the Galileo spacecraft was given an extra-credit assignment. The Galileo Europa Mission (GEM), which began twenty years ago this week, focused on Jupiter’s moons and included eight additional flybys of Europa (one as close as 200 km or 124 mi), four encounters with Callisto, and two close flybys of Io. GEM lasted two years, at which time Galileo was given the Galileo Millennium Mission, which included joint observations of Jupiter with the Cassini spacecraft as it flew by in late 2000 on its way to Saturn. This Galileo image of Europa shows an intricate pattern of linear fractures on the moon’s icy surface. Newer fractures crosscut older ones, and several wide, dark bands are visible where the surface has spread apart in the past.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SETI Institute

Weekly Calendar

December 4-10, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 4

Moon at perigee

1639: First transit of Venus observed
1965: Gemini VII launched
1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 orbiter arrives in orbit around Venus
1996: Mars Pathfinder launched
1998: STS-88 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Tuesday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched
2014: Orion spacecraft launched on first uncrewed test flight

Moon phase Wednesday 6

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core
2015: Akatsuki probe begins orbiting Venus

Moon phase Thursday 7

1905: Gerard Kuiper born
1972: Apollo 17 launched
1995: Galileo probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere; orbiter begins prime mission
1997: Galileo Europa Mission begins

Moon phase Friday 8

Regulus 0.7° south of Moon

1964: Apollo A-002 launched
1990: Galileo makes first Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
1992: Galileo makes second Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
SpaceX Dragon 1 launched; first private spacecraft recovered from orbit

Moon phase Saturday 9

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 10

Last Qtr Moon 2:51 AM ET

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

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