Europa Flyby

Ten years ago today — January 3, 2000 — the Galileo space probe made a flyby of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

(Natural and false color images of Europa. NASA image. Click to enlarge.)

… the spacecraft flew over Jupiter’s icy moon Europa on Monday morning, January 3, at an altitude of 351 kilometers (218 miles). Galileo then performed observations of three of Jupiter’s smaller moons — Amalthea, Thebe and Metis — at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday. The encounter was capped off with several observations of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io at about 4 a.m. PST Tuesday, January 4, 2000.

The Galileo mission was originally supposed to end in December 1997, but was extended twice. The mission finally ended with a descent into Jupiter’s atmosphere in September 2003. Kudos to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for another excellent mission!

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