An artist's drawing of the Galileo spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter
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Image courtesy of NASA

Galileo - The Sequel
News story originally written on January 2, 1998

Galileo concluded its remarkable primary mission on December 7, 1997. It spent the last two years studying Jupiter and its moons.

Galileo has already begun part II of its mission. This phase of the mission will last another two years and will include eight Europa flybys, four Callisto flybys and one or two Io encounters, depending on the spacecraft's health.

The Galileo spacecraft completed its first flyby of Europa on December 8th. It reached within 124 miles (200 kilometers) of the surface of the moon. Europa has become increasingly important as scientists have recently realized that underneath its icy surface, Europa may have liquid oceans (that's not to say that they are liquid water!).

"Galileo has earned a place in history as the first mission to orbit an outer planet," said Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., NASA's associate administrator for space science, Washington, DC. "Galileo already has returned a wealth of new information in its two-year scientific exploration of Jupiter's atmosphere and system of moons. But the best yet may still be ahead of us as Galileo continues its mission at Jupiter with a focus on the moons Europa and Io in the next two years."

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