September 1, 1994
Galileo's first images of the July impacts of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter were released during August. These were partial photometric scans of the fragment K event and a four-image sequence of the arrival of fragment W. This week the team is concluding a long-planned series of engineering activities, including preparations for software changes that will ready the spacecraft for its Jupiter approach, atmospheric probe entry and relay, and orbit insertion activities late next year.
On September 9, the Galileo flight team will transmit the next operating sequence to Galileo, commanding the spacecraft to resume transmitting Shoemaker-Levy data stored on Galileo's onboard tape recorder. This will continue, with an interruption for solar conjunction, through January 1995. The transmissions may include more views of fragment W and more photometric scans on fragment K. Scientists will also be seeing infrared, ultraviolet and photometric data on the very large fragment G impact, permitting comparison with Earth-based observatory measurements.
Galileo is now 708 million kilometers (440 million miles)
from the sun, a distance increasing by more than 400,000
kilometers (a quarter-million miles) each day. It is 222 million
kilometers (138 million miles) from Jupiter, and a little more
than 15 months from arrival at the giant planet. The spacecraft
is operating normally, spinning at about 3 rpm, transmitting at
10 bits per second.