On Sunday, September 21, NASA's Galileo spacecraft will end 14 years of exploration in spectacular fashion: by crashing into Jupiter. This denouement has been engineered by astronomers to avoid an inadvertent impact with the planet's moon Europa, which is thought to have a subsurface ocean based on information collected by Galileo. Since its October 1989 launch from the Space Shuttle, the spacecraft has circled the largest planet in our solar system 34 times and traveled more than 4.6 billion kilometers. Originally scheduled to circumnavigate Jupiter for just two years, Galileo saw its mission extended three times and has provided scientists with a unique look at the Jovian system. Some of Scientific American's past stories on the discoveries Galileo made possible are compiled below. --The Editors
The Galileo Mission to Jupiter and Its Moons
Jupiter Moon 'Just a Pile of Rubble'
Galileo Revisits Jovian Moons
Galileo at Ganymede
Ganymede's Hidden Ocean
Io's Mighty Mountains
Io's Sulfur Snow
Europa: Wet and Wild
New Model Narrows Estimates for the Thickness of Europa's Icy Crust
The following are available for purchase from Scientific American Digital.
"The Galileo Mission," by Torrence V. Johnson (Scientific American, December 1995)
"The Hidden Ocean of Europa," by Robert T. Pappalardo, James W. Head and Ronald Greeley (Scientific American, October 1999)
"Forecast: Dry and Windy," by Glenn Zorpette (Scientific American, June 1996.)
"The Flagships of the Space Fleet" (Scientific American Presents: The Future of Space Exploration, Spring 1999)
Scientific American Special Edition: New Light on the Solar System