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Artist's depiction of the Galileo spacecraft near Jupiter's moon Io.
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Image courtesy NASA/JPL.

Galileo Reaches the End of its Road
News story originally written on September 19, 2003

Galileo is a spacecraft that has been orbiting Jupiter for eight years. On September 21, 2003, Galileo will crash into Jupiter. It will burn up in Jupiter's atmosphere. The crash is not an accident! The people who run the Galileo mission are making Galileo crash on purpose!

Why are they doing that? They want to make sure Galileo doesn't crash somewhere else. One of Jupiter's moons, Europa, might have life on it. There are probably microbes inside of Galileo somewhere. If Galileo crashed on Europa, the microbes might get out and start growing there. Scientists don't want that to happen!

The team of scientists and engineers who worked on the Galileo mission are sad to see it end. However, they are proud of all the great things Galileo has done. Here are some of the things Galileo has helped us learn:

Last modified September 19, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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