Hundreds of people who helped make NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter a long-running success are drawing recognition from the Space Foundation with an award being presented today in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Space Foundation, a non-profit group supporting space activities, space professionals and education, selected Galileo's NASA and industry team to receive a Space Achievement Award. "The selection recognizes the design, development, launch and operation of the Galileo space probe, which resulted in a more-than-10- year odyssey of solar system exploration," said Steve Eisenhart, foundation vice president. "We're focusing on the abundance of scientific discoveries that Galileo has sent us."
Galileo was launched aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in 1989. The spacecraft flew by Venus, Earth and two asteroids on its way to Jupiter, and has been orbiting Jupiter since Dec. 7, 1995. On arrival day, a probe released by the orbiter parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere for the first in-place measurements of a gas giant planet. Since then, Galileo has flown 33 close approaches past Jupiter's four largest moons. It found evidence for subsurface liquid layers of saltwater on Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, and it documented extensive volcanic activity on Io. Galileo returned about 14,000 images from its camera and 650 infrared images.
"This award is a tribute to the team of people at all phases of the project who made this mission the successful legacy of discovery that it is," said Dr. Eilene Theilig, Galileo project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Galileo continues to return new scientific information after more than three times its originally scheduled two-year orbital tour. It will examine the high-radiation environment near Jupiter and the density of the small inner moon Amalthea when it flies near Amalthea for the first time in November.
Galileo information is available online at http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., managed the atmospheric probe. The Space Foundation is based in Colorado Springs.
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