Roaming Galileo returns to heart of Jupiter system
February 1, 2000
Web posted at: 4:47 PM EST (2147 GMT)
(CNN) -- Galileo is heading back toward the central part of the Jupiter system after reaching in its oblong orbit the farthest point away from the gaseous giant, NASA announced this week.
The spacecraft continues to send back to Earth data stored on its onboard tape recorder. This week's playback contains observations made during Galileo's amazing flyby of Io in late November.
| MESSAGE BOARD|
During the flyby, Galileo passed within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of Io's surface, a distance less than the altitude of the International Space Station orbiting Earth.
The next pass around the Jupiter system will generate new data and allow the replay of previous data lost in transmission to Earth.
Galileo flew close to the Jupiter moon of Europa on January 3. NASA had planned to retire the spacecraft on January 31, but decided to extend its mission.
Another Io flyby is planned for February 20, with flybys of Ganymede on May 20 and December 28, and joint observations of Jupiter with the Cassini spacecraft in December 2000.
Galileo engineers like to say that the spacecraft has already lived "well past its warranty," surviving radiation exposure more than twice the level it was designed to withstand.
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