[Galileo]Galileo is a NASA space exploration satellite that was launched on October 18, 1989. Galileo was sent to Jupiter to study the planet's atmosphere, moons, and surrounding magnetosphere, for 2 years starting in December 1995. It was named for the Italian Renaissance scientist who discovered Jupiter's major moons in 1610 with the first astronomical telescope.

During this mission, Galileo is making direct measurements from an instrumented probe within Jupiter's atmosphere, and it is conducting long-term observations of Jupiter. It was the first satellite to encounter an asteroid, and to photograph an asteroid's moon.

Scientists from six nations are participating in the mission. Galileo's ultimate goal after it reaches Jupiter is to penetrate Jupiter's layer of cloud cover so that it can take pictures. Galileo will send an atmospheric probe that it is carrying to between 130 and 160 kilometres below Jupiter's cloud tops, deep enough to help answer questions such as what's in Jupiter's yellow clouds, or how strong are the winds below the cloud tops. The probe won't, however, go in close enough to see Jupiter's rocky core, which is buried approximately 60,000 kilometers underneath the cloud tops.

To find out how Galileo got to Jupiter, click here.

To find out what equipment Galileo used, click here.

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Last updated on: 8 August 1997.