Requiem for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter - An Animation for Orbiter





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Published on Dec 31, 2012

An Orbiter film and Blender animation by Unstung.

The Galileo spacecraft was built by JPL for NASA and launched on STS-34 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) on October 18, 1989. Over the course of six years, until December 7, 1995, Galileo used gravity assists to arrive at Jupiter. Among flying by the planets Venus and Earth en route to Jupiter, the spacecraft also passed asteroids 951 Gaspra, including its moon Dactyl, and 243 Ida.

Unfortunately the primary, high-gain antenna of Galileo was unable to open fully due to its lubricant evaporating while in storage after the Challenger disaster, as seen in the video. The spacecraft had to rely on its low-gain antenna to send data back to Earth at a significantly reduced rate.

This video is a celebration of the planet Jupiter and its moons, as mentioned in the credits, and does not focus very much on the Galileo mission itself. However, a major role the spacecraft plays is releasing its atmospheric probe towards Jupiter. The primary goal of the film is to show off the four wonderful Galilean moons of the Jovian system: Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io. The video progresses as Galileo passes the orbits moons that are closer and closer to Jupiter, and finally enters its atmosphere. Radiation had taken its toll on the spacecraft and it was crashed into Jupiter on September 21, 2003 so it wouldn't contaminate a moon.

The requiem is wrapped-up with a reference to the Juno spacecraft at the end. It was launched in 2011 and will arrive at Jupiter in 2016, to build on the knowledge we got of the planet from Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini, New Horizons, et al. Juno will only study Jupiter itself and will orbit the planet to get a vast amount of information, or data.

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