Image of Europa taken by Galileo.
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Courtesy of NASA
Galileo is Still Going Strong!
News story originally written on January 7, 2000
After ten years of travel, the Galileo spacecraft will finally complete its mission this month. Galileo has been studying Jupiter and its moons. Recently it completed dangerous flybys of the moon Europa, during which it withstood a bombardment of radiation from the satellite. Scientists are amazed the spacecraft is still functioning so well.
Scientists are unsure what to do with Galileo once its mission is finished. They are hoping that NASA will provide funding to keep the spacecraft operational. Where it will go and what it will study has yet to be decided. What scientists do know, is that this strong probe has done a miraculous job.
"After orbiting Jupiter for nearly four years, the spacecraft has more than fulfilled its mission objectives," says deputy project manager Wayne Sible.
Galileo has sent back information supporting the theory that water is present on Europa. The moon has an icy crust, but there is evidence that an ocean may be hidden underneath. If water is or was present, it is possible that Europa has life.
Richard Greenberg, a Galileo researcher, said, "There's a probability, I think, of life on Europa. It's a great environment [for hardy organisms] to live in."
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