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This Week on Galileo?
This Week on Galileo
February 26 - March 4, 2001
DOY 2001/57-63

A Variety of Observations are Planned to be Returned This Week!

Playback of the data stored on the tape from the December 28 flyby of Ganymede continues. This week, quite a variety of observations are planned to be returned, including several taken at or near the same times as observations acquired by the Cassini spacecraft, which also passed by Jupiter on its way out to Saturn.

The Photopolarimeter Radiometer instrument (PPR) returns data from some of its observations of Ganymede, Io, Europa, and the atmosphere of Jupiter. First, we expect to see a full temperature map of the day side of Ganymede, taken one to two hours after the satellite left the shadow of Jupiter. This continues an investigation of the composition and structure of surface materials and how they heat up in sunlight. Playback of PPR data continues with multiple observations of both Io and Europa. By viewing these satellites as the angles between the Sun, their surfaces, and Galileo change, scientists gain insight into the structure and composition of those surfaces. In cooperation with the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument, PPR also looked at Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt, between 3 and 20 degrees north latitude, and at the northwest region of the Great Red Spot, a giant storm in Jupiter's atmosphere which is about three times the size of Earth, and has persisted for at least 330 years! The Galileo instrument can observe at longer wavelengths of light than the Cassini counterpart, and because of the relative distances of the spacecraft from Jupiter at the times of the flybys, can provide higher spatial resolution.

The Galileo Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) will return a global image of Ganymede obtained with the current full complement of NIMS wavelengths. This will give information about the composition of different areas of the satellite surface. Observations of Io help to monitor that satellite's volcanic activity. In cooperation with the Cassini Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer instrument, NIMS observations were also made of Callisto and Europa, though both at considerably greater distances than the Ganymede observations. During this pass through the Jupiter system, the closest Galileo came to Europa was nearly 800,000 kilometers (500,000 miles), and to Callisto 2,339,000 kilometers (1,450,000 miles). NIMS also viewed the turbulent region of the atmosphere of Jupiter trailing the Great Red Spot, investigated hot spots in the clouds, and looked for aurorae in the south polar region of the giant planet.

The Galileo Solid State Imaging camera will return some global color images of Io, in cooperation with the Cassini imaging experiment, helping to maintain an inventory of the volcanic plumes of that active satellite, and look for changes from previous orbits in the plumes and surface markings due to ongoing volcanic activity.

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Last updated 10/01/01.

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