10-20-2007 14:35

The Galileo spacecraft flew by the Earth and Moon on Dec. 8, 1990 and Dec. 7, 1992. The image at the top of the page is a false color image of the Moon created by combining 53 images taken from three different filters on Galileo during the 1992 flyby. Pink represents highlands, blue to orange denote volcanic flows.

The primary mission of the Galileo orbiter and probe is to explore Jupiter and its satellites. (More information on the spacecraft and mission to Jupiter is given below.) Due to the great distance to Jupiter of over 600 million kilometers, and the on board fuel limitations, a series of planetary flybys has taken place in order to give Galileo a gravity assist to Jupiter:

Launch 18 Oct 1989

Venus 10 Feb 1990

Earth/Moon 1 08 Dec 1990

Gaspra 29 Oct 1991

Earth/Moon 2 08 Dec 1992

Ida 28 Aug 1993

Jupiter arrival 07 Dec 1995

These flybys gave Galileo an opportunity to image the Moon at various wavelengths with the Solid State Imaging (SSI) camera. The camera uses a high-resolution, 800 x 800 charge-coupled device (CCD) array with a field of view of 0.46 degrees. Multi-spectral coverage is provided by an eight-position filter wheel on the camera, consisting of three broad-band filters: violet (404 nm), green (559 nm), and red (671 nm); four near-infrared filters: 727 nm, 756 nm, 889 nm, and 986 nm; and one clear filter (611 nm) with a very broad (440 nm) passband.


Editor:Liu Fang