Fr.: sonde Galileo
A space mission whose main goal was to explore → Jupiter and its moons and rings. The spacecraft was launched on October 19, 1989, arrived at Jupiter in December 1995. It disappeared on September 21, 2003, after eight years orbiting Jupiter, when mission controllers crashed it into → Jupiter's atmosphere. On December 7, 1995, Galileo's probe dived into Jupiter's atmosphere, and measured atmospheric pressure, density, and composition, and explored the planet's → radiation belts. Galileo had two parts: an orbiter and a descent probe that parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere. The orbiter sent back hundreds of pictures of the four large → Galilean satellites of Jupiter (→ Io, → Europa, → Ganymede, and → Callisto). It made many discoveries during its eight years looping around Jupiter. It found evidence for layers of salt water below the surface on Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and measured high levels of volcanic activity on Io. When → Shoemaker-Levy slammed into Jupiter in 1994, Galileo had the only direct view of the → comet striking Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo determined that → Jupiter's rings are formed from dust hurled up by → meteorite impacts on planet's inner moons. Measurements by the orbiter's → magnetometer revealed that Io, Europa, and Ganymede have metallic cores, while Callisto does not. Also, Galileo discovered that Ganymede possesses its own → magnetic field; it is the first moon known to do so. The orbiter also found that the Galilean satellites all have thin atmospheres. During it's trip from Earth to Jupiter, Galileo passed by and studied two asteroids: → Gaspra in 1991 and → Ida in 1993, around which it discovered → Dactyl, the first moon orbiting an asteroid (windows2universe.org).