Arri:V"A.I a:t J'U..pi.



Jet Prop u ISiO n t.aoorato ry Caliiornia lnstnute 01 Technology

Join us as we start on a voyage of discovery.


Curriculum Guide: A detailed supplement of activities and facts about Galileo and Jupiter. Contact JPL for information.

Teaching Resource Centers (TRC): The Jet Propulsion Laboratory TRC supplies booklets, lithograph pictures, posters, videotapes and curriculum materials. Printed materials are free; videotapes may be obtained in exchange for a name brand VHS cassette still sealed in the original wrapper. For further information, contact Teaching Resource Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mall Stop CS-530, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, (81S) 354-6916. A TRC may be located near you; check with your nearest NASA center for further information.

Computer Resources: Images and fact sheets from many JPL projects (including Galileo) are available via modem at (818 354-1333 (no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, up to 14,400 baud), or, using the internet, at; log in as "anonymous," and send your user ID as a password). Some Internet service providers offer reduced rates for students and educators; contact a local service to find out if they provide educational discounts.

Galileo Messenger: The official communication of the Project. Hardcopy subscriptions are available at no cost through Project Galileo, JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, or look at the Messenger on Galileo's World Wide Web page.

World Wide Web: Check the Galileo Home page ( and the

JPL Home Page (

The Two Galileos

Almost four hundred years ago, Italian scientist Galileo Galilei looked through his telescope at the planet Jupiter and "perceived .... that beside the planet there were three starlets, small indeed, but very bright .... " Eventually, Galileo would discover a total of four moons, unknown before the invention of the telescope, orbiting around Jupiter-a discovery that would eventually change how humanity viewed the heavens.

We've come a long way from Galileo's primitive telescope. The interplanetary explorer Galileo, shown below, will conduct nineteen investigations using the spacecraft's radio system and many different scientific instruments (seven of which will drop into Jupiter's atmosphere on the probe). Galileo will orbit in the Jovian system for two

G~IeoGaflel years, gathering data and taking pictures that can detect objects as

small as 12 meters (39 feet). Compare this with Mr. Galilei's view: his robotic namesake's observations improve on his by factors up to 100,000 to 1,000,OOO!


Ii Inli'estigaw5 emissicns

from the 1'0 plasma torus, and auror,;;;I'1 and ai'glow- phenomena on Jupiter.



• Radio Propaga! ion exam ines aim ospheres. or Jupiter and, eateunes, and looks at solar wind.

• C eleslial Mechanics measures mass of Jupiter and' lta aatenttes, and searches for Gravllatloila I Radiation,



• Measures magnetic fields. as. well as any distortions in \hose ftelds due 10 lnteracllona of the magnet1!:: fjekJ wit~ MIO"n"S or plasm es,


• If'I'Jestlga!,es distribuliOrl ar'\d com position of Jew energy plasma (a conecncn of ions and electons).


• General es power

for the spacecrstt aM ils inatrurnerus.


• Counts dust particles and

m eesurea !hair ma-ss, speed" and dire(~lon,


• MQntLors vt;:ry enarge!ic heavy n1J~lei of I he ,elemen! s carbon thru n ick"el, which may dam age epececta ft parts.


• ,8 urn prope llant to !'Urn space-:raH and chan~e its speao and direction.

'------------------ REMOTE SENSING INSTRUMENTS (on Scan prattcrm)


Examines I he i 0 pies rna toru 5, the ''th.i n ne r" atmosphere {above Juprtar's croud tops and sat@"llite a1mO$phares'}, aurorae, ,and 5aileUi1e surtaee

Clo mpoeltlon.


Takes v1sible and near-infrared lig'hl pictures. Used for -stud yi ng geOlogy of eetef ite surteces. and

Ju plter' s atmosphanc m ottens.


.' vvru be releas-ed from the orbiter 5' m nnths beroce etllering Jl.Jpi!,ers atmO$pne~e

• ... TM OS PH ~RIC STRlICTURE IN sm U MEN T Determ lnes tam perature, erass~re, de_nsity Md' rn clecu la~ weighl at different heig hts.

• llG'HTN'NG ... ND ENERGETIC P"'RT'CLES loo~s ror lightning, end: measures energeoc panicles close in 10 J Lip iter.

• NEAR·INFR .... REO MAPPING SPECTROMETER; Uses reffected 5unright and emitted heat to measure cornpcsiti 011_


• GaIMrs tMe dat" ItOm Ill" Probe for la'tef transrn iss-ion 10 Eat1h.

• N ElITRAL MASS SP ECmOM ETER nerarm il'les what ehemcats are in, ~he atmosphere


Meaau res ternperat U te proFi I es an rt If: n€l rgy balance of Jupiter"s atmcspnere, along 'with, setenlte surface characteristics ,

• H ELIU M A SUNDANCE DEJECTa R D'IBtl5lntl iMS' rarat ..... e amouill-oJ helium m atmosphere


netscrs clouds, seas, ir doL,l.(l particles are liquiCl or solid.



(Pr.OOO Science 'n strulile-nlsl

• NET-FLUX RAD'OMETER Measures energy a! diff arant heights,

• DOP PL~ R W'N D ~)lP ER' M ENT Measures winds by 1 r~ing probe from orbiter,

Playing Cosmic Billiards (or, How to Char

One of the first things taught in geometry is that "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line." But in the case of Project Galileo, an interplanetary spacecraft bound for Jupiter, the most efficient path is a sixyear journey that initially heads towards Venus instead of Jupiter.

Galilee is currently on the last leg of a flight path that has included one close flyby of Venus and two close flybys of Earth. Each of these flybys allowed the spacecraft to use the planet's gravity to accelerate Galileo to greater speeds, rather like a slingshot. The exact flight path depends on how close Galileo flies to the planet, so navigation engineers work like expert billiard players, carefully lining up each maneuver and encounter so that Galileo arrives right on target. Without the boost provided by these flybys, Galileo would need an extra 10,900 kilograms of propellant-about twelve times more than was on board at launch.


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Having accomplished the three planetary flybys, Galileo is right on schedule to reach Jupiter on December 7, 1995. Along the way, there have been opportunities to observe two asteroids; these pictures and other scientific information are the first close-up views we have had of these ancient remnants of the primordial solar system.

Close flybys and gravity assists will also be used to enable Galileo to make a complex tour of Jupiter's system. An additional 3,600 kilograms of propellant (about four times the total amount of propellant on the spacecraft at launch) would be needed to fly the tour without the billiards-like gravity assist technique.

"1lVh.a1; Type o.f Rocke1; Propella:n.1; Does Galileo Use?

Galileo's fuel tanks can't just be filled up at the local gas station, as the engines use monomethyl hydrazine for fuel. Fuel has to be oxidized (burned) in order to ignite; we don't have to worry about this on Earth, where we are surrounded by an atmosphere containing oxygen, but an interplanetary spacecraft like Galileo has to carry its own oxidizer (Galileo uses nitrogen tetroxide). Instead of pumps, the spacecraft uses two separate tanks of helium pressurant that force the fuel and oxidizer together into the combustion chamber. These two liquids are stored at about room temperature on the spacecraft One valuable property of these liquids is that they burn on contact with each other, eliminating complicated ignition systems (such as spark plugs; Galileo doesn't have access to a mechanic for regularly scheduled tune-ups!).

:~~ .; VENUS - FEB 10, 1990' <' : ;:~".:~

. .... ,


......... . ,"'~.:'!.

:I::.~::::J. .~ ~;.

Jupiter (July,1994)


-"'- ... _

H o"WV" "Fu.el-E ffi.c:i.e:n.-t .. are Gravi.1;y Assi.s1;s?

With Gravity Assist

If Galileo had to fly to Jupiter (and then fly around the Jovian system for two years) without being able to use gravity assists, the spacecraft's propellant tanks would have to hold at least sixteen times more propellantl (Although the tanks on the right spacecraft don't look sixteen times larger than the tanks on the left spacecraft, they will hold sixteen times more propellant, since volume is proportional to radius cubed)

age a Spacecraft's Speed and Direction)

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GASPRA - OCT 29,1991




Fragment W Impact (JUly Z2. 7994)



DEC 7,1995


10: A Volcanic Puzzle

This Voyager picture of an eruption of the volcano Prometheus was processed to show detail both on the surface of 10 and in the faint plume (extending above the moon's surface). Scientists estimate that the eruption rushes out of the vent at a velocity of about 112 km (0.3 mi) per second. The plume reaches an altitude of about 50 km (30 mi), spreading out over a diameter of about 300 km (190 mi).

On December 7, 1995, Galileo will have its one and only opport.unity for a close encounter with Jupiter's Moon 10, the most volcanically active body in the solar system. 10 looks remarkably different from any other moon in the Solar System, let alone any of Jupiter's other moons: there's nothing else in the solar system that looks like a planet-sized pepperoni pizza!

Like our own Moon, some of Jupiter's 16 known moons are covered with impact craters, showing where meteorites smashed into the surface, But 10 is covered with hundreds of volcanic craters which continually spew forth material, resurfacing the entire moon every century. Some of this material escapes from Io's atmosphere or surface and gets caught up in Jupiter's powerful magnetic field, forming a gigantic donut-shaped collection of particles orbiting around Jupiter, known as the 10 Plasma Torus. Io's fireworks are triggered by its tidal interactions with Jupiter and two of Jupiter's other moons (see sidebar).

The distinctive yellow-orange color of the surface comes from sulfur (although 10 looks like a pizza, it would smell like a rotten egg). How did Io's volcanoes evolve and what is their chemical composition? How frequently do they erupt? Is Io's crust thick or thin (still sounds like a pizza!), and what does that imply for all the volcanic activity? Scientists hope to use Galilee's observations to answer these and other questions.

If 10 is so interesting, then why is the spacecraft limited to one close flyby? Unfortunately, 10 lies deep within Jupiter's radiation belts, and intense radiation environments are hazardous for spacecraft electronics. The orbiter cannot withstand a second pass through the harsh Jovian radiation environment at the orbit ofIo without shortening the two-year mission lifetime. One close pass, skimming a mere 1,000 km (600 miles) over Io's surface, is needed so that the gravitational attraction of 10 will slow the orbiter-the fourth gravity assist of the mission! This makes it possible for the spacecraft to enter orbit around Jupiter while using as little propellant as possible (Galilee uses its main engine as a brake, so braking uses up propellant that could be used for turning the spacecraft to point its communications antenna towards Earth, and for a turn that will help position the spacecraft's cameras).

Volca:n.oes 0I1. Io a:n.d Earth: .A.. Tale 01" "rvIT0 :Heat SO"Urces

10 and Earth are two rocky solar system bodies that have volcanic activity. In both cases, the warm interior spurts up through weak chin ksin the surface crust. But are 10 and the Earth heated by the same process?

No. Earth's internal heat comes from the decay of radioactive elements. Small bodies like 10 cannot retain enough heat from radioactive elements long enough to produce volcanoes today. lo's insides are heated instead by a tidal interaction process between 10, Jupiter, and two other moons of Jupiter named Ganymede and Europa. Because Ganymede and Europa gravitationally tug on 10, lo's orbit around Jupiter is not perfectly circular, The resulting tidal tug on 10 by Jupiter actually distorts lo's shape, which in turn heats lo's interior by "frictional dissipation" (to see this, try bending a piece of wire back and forth, and feel how it heats up),

Jupiter itself also has a warm interior caused by "leftover" heat from its formation. Since. Jupiter is mainly liquid and gas, the warm interior can move upwards towards the surface without volcanic activity.

Danger: High Radiation Levels Ahead!

December 7, 1995 will be a momentous day in the history of space exploration. Galileo's atmospheric Probe will plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere, relaying information about the chemical makeup and structure of the largest planet in the solar system. Earlier in the day, the Galileo Orbiter will skim over the volcanic moon 10, snapping pictures of unprecedented resolution. The day ends with Galileo settling into orbit in the Jovian system, its permanent home and laboratory until December of 1997.

Galileo's engineers will hold their breath, waiting to hear that Galileo's big engine has done its job and sent the spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter. They'll also be concerned about the spacecraft's health, since Galileo will spend part of the day deep within Jupiter's radiation belts (similar to Earth's Van Allen belts).

But one group of scientists will be happily watching as, passing 10, Galileo travels through radiation strong enough to kill a human. Space scientists study this radiation, which is made up of charged particles traveling at high speed which bombard anything in their paths like microscopic BBs.

Amazingly, volcanoes on 10 provide the ionized material that fills the so-called 10 Plasma Torus (see illustration below and 10; A Volcanic Puzzle). The torus is one small part of Jupiter's "magnetosphere," the volume of space influenced by Jupiter's magnetic field. So, just as scientists use the Probe to help them understand Jupiter's weather, they also use the orbiter's measurements of the area around 10 to better understand all of Jupiter's magnetic envirorunent.

Jupiter's Spln Axis

North Magnetic Polg


/os "Plasma Torus"

A powfSOOd bagel? A donut with s,mides? No, it's WI artists view of the 10 Plasma T~ a donut.shaped area filled will charged JWlides, SI.I1'tlUfIdi1g Jl4'iter. GakJ's pilIh wiN lake the spacecraft through this region.

COD" At1;rac1;io~s

During those two years, the spacecraft will experience ten more close encounters with Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, using each flyby as a gravitational slingshot to the next encounter. This "tour" will take Galileo on a flower-petal-shaped elevenorbit trek through the Jovian system, including a long trek down Jupiter's magnetic field "tail", giving us our first comprehensive view of Jupiter, its 16 known satellites, and its monstrous magnetic field.


(Jupiler Orbil Insertion)

Path of Spacecraft at AntIIa/ (December 7, 1995)

"'l!i(hat·s the big deal. abou.t Ju.piter's 1VIag:n_etic Fie1d?

Earth has a modest magnetic field which we don't think about much (unless you're lost in the woods with a compass). Jupiter, however, has a magnetic field so huge that it dwarfs the Sun itself Astronomers deal with even larger and stronger. magnetic fields, like those at the center of our galaxy.

Things really get interesting when charged particles like ions and eJectrons start whizzing around in the magnetic field (for example, Earth's N orthern Lights). There is a ready supply of charged particles (known as a "plasma") from 10; maybe as much as one ton of particles per second I The plasma gets trapped by Jupiter's magnetic field, and initially stays near Ill's orbit; this is why the material has a bagel-shaped clistribution.

The interactions between plasma and magnetic fields are complex. It's the job of the fields and particles instruments to explore Jupiter's magnetic field and plasma so that we can understand how they fit together.

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Why Do We Need A Probe To Study Jupiter's Atmosphere?

In 1610, Galileo Galilei used a small telescope to view Jupiter, and discovered that it had four major satellites. At that time, people did not lmow what planets really were, and it was assumed that Jupiter was a "wandering" star. Now, we know that Jupiter is another planet which may help us to understand how the solar system, and our own planet, formed and evolved.

Starting in 1973, four different spacecraft have studied Jupiter's atmosphere (Pioneer 10 in 1973, Pioneer 11 in 1974, Voyager 1 and 2 in 1979). But these pictures only whetted scientists' appetites for better, higher-resolution images that could show smaller details. And pictures couldn't answer many questions: what lies under the ammonia clouds that we see-s-are there water clouds at lower elevations? Why are the clouds yellow-do they contain phosphorus, sulfur, or some other compound? What is the exact chemical composition of Jupiter's atmosphere? To what depth do Jupiter's winds exist? Is Jupiter's lightning caused by the same processes that produce lightning here on Earth? How does the temperature change at different altitudes? For all of these questions, scientists and engineers were convinced of the need for direct measurements from within the atmosphere.

The Galileo Probe is by no means the first spacecraft to directly sample another planet's atmosphere. The 1977 Pioneer Venus mission used several probes to measure Venusian atmospheric temperature and pressure, locate major cloud decks, and analyze the chemistry of atmospheric gases. In addition, unmanned landers had been. used to investigate the atmosphere with great success on Mars (the Viking mission), and briefly on Venus (a Soviet mission).

The Probe will enter Jupiter's atmosphere at a relative speed of over 47 kilometers per second (or 170,000 kilometers per hour, the fastest impact speed of any man made object. ever). A heat shield protects the Probe's scientific instruments during deceleration, after which a parachute deploys to ensure a slow, controlled descent.

Path of Probe Through Jup;rersAtmosphere: December 7, 1995


(50 krn, 0.08 bar, -160°C, 1.88 min)

~ -MAIN PARACHUTE DEPLOYEMENT '" te (48 km, 0.09 bar, -161°C, 1.92 min)


PRIMARY DATA REQUIREMENT (-92 krn, 10 bars, S3°C, 38 min)

GaliJeo'& Probe:

Explorin..g "'th.e 0:1' "'the On..ion..

Although the Probe will travel between 130 to 160 km (81 to 99 miles) below Jupiter's cloud tops, it will only be exploring the top two-thousandths of Jupiter's atrnosphere=ccmparable to exploring an onion by drilling through its outer skin. Alternatively, take a look at the cross-section of Jupiter shown in the "Jupiter's Atmosphere" poster panel: the Probe mission will cover roughly one-fifth of'the thin, gaseous atmosphere layer. Why doesn't the Probe go deeper? Ideally we would like the probe to go even deeper, but the heat and pressure become too great for continued instrument operation. At a depth of 130 kilometers, Jupiter's atmosphere exerts a pressure 20 times greater than Earth's, and the temperature soars to over 4100K (280°F). The Probe's scientific instruments are built to study a wide range of pressures and temperatures, but eventually they will succumb to the harsh environment just as submarines here on Earth cannot go below a certain depth. However, the Probe travels deep enough to answer many questions that scientists have about the cloud features that we see on Jupiter.

Jupiter's Atmosphere

Brothers and sisters share many characteristics. Even though Earth and Jupiter differ in many ways, as "siblings" in the Solar System they share surprising characteristics when examined closely. Galileo's observations of Jupiter will help us to better understand these atmospheric differences and similarities.

The Big Pic"ture: Di£:ferences Elet~ee:n. Ear"th a.nd Jupi"ter Jupiter's diameter is more than eleven times the diameter of Earth. It spins about two and a half times faster (a day on Jupiter lasts only 9 hours and 48 minutes!), and, unlike Earth, has an internal energy source that releases almost twice the amount of energy as it gets from the Sun. These differences are reflected in the visual appearances of the two planets. On Earth, the cloud patterns near the equator are dominated by spiral-shaped storms (whose centers are low pressure areas at sea level), On Jupiter, the basic pattern is stripes: darker belts that are descending in Jupiter's atmosphere, and brighter but more cloudy zones which are rising up.

The Grea1; Red Spo"t

O'V"a1s, Barges, a.:n.d P1u~es

Other local features on Jupiter, such as the descriptively named white ovals, brown barges, and white plumes, may teach us much about atmospheric dynamics and cloud physics and composition. The plumes could be cirrus anvilshaped clouds arising from the rapid upwelling of wet air, much like similarly shaped clouds seen on Earth. The brown barges are holes in the clouds through which measurements can be made to relatively great depths. Features of this sort are not rare on Jupiter and have an average lifetime of one to two years. The anticyclonic storms called white ovals may last far longer; some first appeared in 19381

The Great Red Spot appears to be a gigantic storm system similar to hurricanes on Earth. The 12,000 by 25,000 km Spot, big enough to hold two Earths, may be just the top of the storm, a rising mass of gas that is bringing up material from Jupiter's depths. Unlike Earth storms, Jupiter's storms can last a long time: the Great Red Spot is at least 300 years old!

Cross-Section of Jupiter. Inset shows depth reached by Probe

The Grea"t CO:n1e"t

The impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 left small particles of dust high in the atmosphere above the impact sites. How high? How small? How long will they remain suspended in there? Galileo will examine these areas to find out.

Jupiter is roughly 90% hydrogen (compare this with Earth's atmosphere, which has about .00005% hydrogen gas).

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