Talk:Galileo (spacecraft)

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Former good article nominee Galileo (spacecraft) was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
February 14, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed


Is there anyone who can explain why GalileO and not GalileI is the name? I would say that the surname is Galilei, so it is named for his first name? Why?

Because that is the name that the astronomer is commonly known by. AKRadeckiSpeaketh 20:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Atmospheric Entry probe[edit]

hi There is a nice picture of the atmospheric entry probe in "atmospheric reentry" page on wikipedia. Maybe nice to add?

The instruments aboard Galileo should be described in more detail. Information is available at:

  • Done! :) --Deglr6328 06:08, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

According to "Journey Beyond Selene" by Jeffrey Kluger (1999), the low-gain bandwidth was initially 8 bits per second. A recent Slashdot 'legacy' article claimed that the bandwidth was raised to 120bps using compression methods. Also, Kluger stated that the high-gain deployment wasn't attempted until Galileo had passed Mars ... was that after the *first* flyby?

  • I'm the author of that slashdot article :-D ; fixed a couple LGA related things and added more detail on the increase to 160bps.--Deglr6328
This passage - "The probe would have been melted and vaporized after many hours of falling, completely dissolving into Jupiter's interior. The parachute would have melted or been burnt first, after roughly 3-4 hours. Then the probe would have gone into a free fall through a black dark abyss lasting many hours. Due to the higher pressure, the metals would have been vaporised once their critical temperature had been reached."
(1) It repeats "melted and vaporized" twice, with "parachute failure" sentence _in between_, but parachute failure happened _before_ "melt and vaporize", right? It just doesn't sounds nice.
(2) "black dark abyss" sounds like poetry (I mean, it is possible that it is factually incorrect). In reality, at tamperatures where metals melt, atmosphere wouldn't be "black" anymore. It will shine with red from temperatere, probably. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:27, 29 December 2006 (UTC).

incorrect energy units?[edit]

The article says "The PLS will measure particles in the energy range from 9 volts to 52 kilovolts." Energy is in joules, not volts. I presume that the author is referring to the 'electronvolt'. What do you think? Bobblewik  (talk) 17:36, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Yes, I saw that when I added it to the article but figured it might actually be "volts" because I confused it with the plasma WAVE subsystem and thought...well maybe its measuring the electric field strength etc. However reading the homepage clearly indicates (~2/3ds down) that it is measuring particles with eV energies. However the same page says it measures from "9 to 52 kilovolts" and "0.9 eV to 52 KeV"....I'm going to go with the latter.--Deglr6328 01:56, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Impact of mission[edit]

Is it worth a section on the impact of Galileo on later deep space missions by NASA? The planning of the project began in the mid-1970s but the design was frozen before the Voyager results could be fully interpreted. As a result the Jupiter atmosphere probe had less scientific interest than a probe of Europa. Arguably a consequence of Galileo was the 'faster, quicker, cheaper' NASA ethos of the 1990s.

that seems a bit speculative at best....--Deglr6328 05:29, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Galileo's Atmospheric Entry Probe[edit]

"All the probe's electronics were powered by lithium sulfur dioxide (LiSO2) batteries which provided a nominal power output of about 580 watts with an estimated capacity of about 21 ampere-hours on arrival at Jupiter."

This is missing important information - knowing what the total power output and the amp-hour capacity was is totally useless without knowing what voltage the battery was providing.

What this article needs[edit]

Pictures of Jupiter! That was the major mission of Galileo... (just my opinion)

Whoa! Way too much information! Try to speak of the details in a little less complicated manner.

Atmospheric entry probe[edit]

There is a nice picture of the atmospheric entry probe on the "atmospheric reentry" page on Wikipedia. Maybe nice to add?

Music / Greetings[edit]

I was watching a documentary last night and I think it said that Galileo has Mozart's The Magic Flute, a song by Chuck Berry, and greetings in 60 languages on board. Is this true or did I mishear it? If so, does anyone know what the Chuck Berry song is. Lastly, is it worth including in the article? Dgen 23:22, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Eight Years[edit]

This spacecraft spent 8 years in orbit of Jupiter and took no pictures of the planet ? What a waste. 11:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Why was this spacecraft sent to Jupiter? It didn't even take any pictures. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:28, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't know what prompted these questions, as Galileo certainly did take pictures of Jupiter. Most of the "Top Ten Science Images" at the JPL Galileo gallery are of Jovian moons, but two are of the plant itself: "A Different View of Jupiter's Great Red Spot" and "Jovian Lightning and Moonlit Clouds" and the Jupiter section of the JPL Galileo gallery has subpages for each of the 17 orbits. The camera was just one of many instruments onboard, and the HG antenna problems certainly did limit what could be sent back. I assume that the original plan was for imagery to make up much more than the 25% of the downlink limit they set for use of the LG antenna. -- ToET 15:38, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Theme song?[edit]

Back when the probe dropped into the atmosphere, a group of engineers at JPL adapted the lyrics of Tom Petty's song Free Fallin' as a sort of theme song. They used to be posted to the web, but I can't find them now. Anyone remember the site, or the lyrics? If they can be ref'ed, I'd like to add this bit to the song's article. AKRadeckiSpeaketh 19:30, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but this is no way a GA!![edit]

First, there are two full sections until you encounter the first reference. THis is inadmissible. Secondly, please reformat titles such as the table of contents won't take this much space. Thirdly it has a tag placed for expanding a section. Lastly, pelase add al least the titles to each of the references. Nergaal (talk) 10:35, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


"maximum of 160 bits per second" ... "total amount of data transmitted throughout the mission to about 30 gigabytes"

I tagged the above with dubious because (160 * 3600 * 24 * 365) / 8 = 630720000 bytes per year, or 630 megabytes; 30 gigabytes implies Galileo operated for over 45 years, did it? Instead, 30 gigabits is plausible, but these numbers need citations in any case. -84user (talk) 01:25, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, the calculation is correct but there is one flaw in the argument; the physical data rate was about 160 bits/second but as data compression was also included in several software updates an effective data rate of ~1000 bits/second could be archieved.

This means that the annual amount of data was about 3.9 GBytes/year. Compared to the lifetime of the program (from the arrival at Jupiter till 2003) this sounds absolutely probable An detailed information can be found here:


"The CDH was actively redundant, with two parallel strings running at all times" could we say the CDH module or the CDH unit? I don't think CDH by itself makes sense

"two parallel strings" -- huh? two communication channels? two processors? not getting it Feldercarb (talk) 23:05, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Galileo probe results[edit]

The section on the atmospheric probe describes its makeup and mechanical performance well, but says nothing about (and does not point to references about) the data it returned, how the data has been interpreted, how it forced revisions of models of Jupiter. Twang (talk) 21:10, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

RCA 1802[edit]

The article states that the RCA 1802 CPU was also used on Viking and Voyager...however, if you read the Wikipedia article about the 1802, it specifically states that this microprocessor was not used on Viking or Voyager. Either this article is mistaken, or the RCA 1802 article is flawed. Any takers? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Melvinlusk (talkcontribs) 02:44, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Why not on a permanent orbit?[edit]

The text says the mission was terminated by destroying the probe purposefully, but it is not clear if there was a choice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

The article states in the Lead;
"On September 21, 2003, after 14 years in space and 8 years in the Jovian system, Galileo's mission was terminated by sending the orbiter into Jupiter's atmosphere at a speed of over 48 kilometres (30 mi) per second, reducing the chance of contaminating local moons with terrestrial bacteria."
This in part is due to the COSPAR guidelines on planetary protection, and this is the same reason Cassini will be ended by a similar burn up in Saturn's atmosphere. ChiZeroOne (talk) 15:31, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

It was always possible to leave Galileo on orbit. But, the Jupiter system is crowded with moons and an intense magnetic field. With all those things perturbing Galileo, its very long-term future orbital behavior couldn't be reliably forecast. Leaving it dead and uncontrollable meant a risk of it eventually colliding with one of the nearby moons, which then would contaminate that moon with whatever microorganisms had gone along for the ride in a state of hibernation. Scientists would like, in the future, to explore those moons. They don't want to discover any Earth bacteria or viruses in the process, because it would introduce "noise" into a search for indigenous organisms. There's also some potential that Earth organisms could be hostile to the natives. There has been speculation about native organisms living amongst Jupiter's upper clouds; but, priorities must be set and choices made. It's presumed that the moons are more promising than Jupiter itself as far as the prospects of biology are concerned. So, into Jupiter's clouds it was to be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:55, 10 January 2014 (UTC)