Status Report

This Week on Galileo March 12 – 18, 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
March 12, 2001
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This week’s major scheduled activity is a propulsive maneuver on Friday.
This burn of the spacecraft’s primary steering jets will help to refine the
trajectory leading up to the next planned flyby of the satellite Callisto
in late May.

The bulk of the week is occupied with playback of the data stored on the
on-board tape recorder from the December flyby of Ganymede. The Near
Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) will complete the playback of its
global map of Jupiter. This was a series of six observations which covered
all 360 degrees of longitude and spanned from pole to pole on the giant
planet. These observations provide information on the composition of
Jupiter’s clouds, and when combined with data from previous orbits, also
show how the composition of the cloud layers can evolve with time.

The Solid State Imaging camera (SSI) will return a Jupiter Feature Track
observation, so called because one atmospheric feature is tracked for a
long period of time to see how it changes. This observation consists of a
series of images of the turbulent region to the northwest of the Great Red
Spot. This region is especially active and interesting, and has been the
site of thunderstorm activity in the past. The area was imaged on four
successive rotations of the planet (over the course of about 32 hours), to
observe storm evolution over longer time scales than previously seen by
Galileo. The observation used several infrared filters, which will allow
scientists to view clouds at different depths in the atmosphere. These
observations will have four times better resolution than those taken by the
Cassini spacecraft, which was observing at the same time. The Cassini
measurements will provide a global context for the more detailed Galileo

For more information on the Galileo spacecraft and its mission to Jupiter,
please visit the Galileo home page at one of the following URL’s:

SpaceRef staff editor.