The Galileo probe was launched on the 18th of October 1989 and was placed in orbit around Jupiter in 1995. The principle aim of this mission
was to explore the system including Jupiter, its moons and rings following the discoveries of the
But before it reached Jupiter, it also
photographed Earth and the Moon, Venus and some asteroids.
This is how we discovered Ida, an asteroid with its own little satellite
and we could see the collision of Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter,
an asteroid that was torn apart by the Jupiter's gravitational force on it.
Galileo was the first probe to gravitate around Jupiter (the Voyager probes only
flew past the planet). For 8 years, Galileo took many pictures
of the satellites and made lots of other measurements (magnetic field strength, gravitational field strength...),
in articular in times of close proximity. Galileo also enabled the discovery of new smaller satellites.
The presence of a liquid ocean under Europa
's ice surface was made certain and
the it was suspected that the same was true for
. The volcanic activity on
was observed close up and a comparison with the Voyager pictures showed the rapid rate of evolution
of the surface on the volcanic satellite.
he probe also had an extra module that detached itself to dive into Jupiter's atmosphere
and study it.
In 2003, the probe ran out of fuel an so it was decided to let it fall into the atmosphere as well.
This avoided any contamination of possible life forms on Europa.