Quick Facts: Galileo Ultraviolet Spectrometer/Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer Experiment (UVS/EUV)

Galileo at Jupiter

As it arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, NASA's Galileo orbiter received a stream of data transmissions -- represented by the blue dots in this artist's depiction from the atmospheric probe that was descending through Jupiter's clouds. (Courtesy NASA/JPL)

Mission Introduction

Galileo was sent to observe the Jovian system. Over a span of 34 orbits, the spacecraft observed Jupiter and its four Galilean moons (Callisto, Ganymede, Io, and Europa). There were numerous discoveries during the mission with some of the highlights being:

  • Discoveries about storms on Jupiter
  • Temperature and composition measurements of volcanoes on Io
  • Discovery of the likely subsurface ocean on Europa
  • Magnetic field of Ganymede
  • Possible subsurface ocean on Callisto

The mission ended with the spacecraft being crashed into Jupiter to take some final measurements of the Jovian atmosphere as well as to keep the satellite from accidentally crashing into Europa at some future date.

LASP Roles

Galileo UVS

The Galileo ultraviolet spectrometer experiment consisted of two instruments: the Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS), pictured here, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EUV). (Courtesy LASP)

LASP provided:

  • Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS)
  • Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EUV)
  • UVS/EUV instrument Principal Investigator, Charles Hord

LASP Instruments

The Galileo ultraviolet spectrometer experiment consisted of two instruments: the Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS), mounted on the pointed orbiter scan platform, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EUV), mounted on the spinning part of the orbiter with the field of view perpendicular to the spin axis.

The Galileo UVS instrument was designed and built by LASP. The University of Arizona’s Voyager UVS instrument was reconfigured by LASP with new electronics and mechanical interfaces and was flown as the LASP Galileo EUV instrument.

Initial primary objectives of the investigation were to understand physical processes occurring in:

  • The upper atmosphere of Jupiter
  • The Io plasma torus
  • The volatile gases escaping from Galilean satellites

A delay in the launch of Galileo enabled additional objectives, which included solar wind, lunar, Venus, and asteroid processes.

For more information about the Galileo mission, see:

Quick Facts

Launch date: October 18, 1989
Launch location: Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Launch vehicle: Shuttle Atlantis STS-34
Mission target: Jupiter
Mission duration: 14 years
Other key dates:

  • Spacecraft impacted Jupiter: Sept. 21, 2003
  • Venus flyby: Feb. 10, 1990
  • Earth flybys: Dec. 8, 1990; Dec. 8, 1992
  • Asteroid Gaspra flyby: Oct. 29, 1991
  • Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts of comet fragments into Jupiter observed: July 1994
  • Asteroid Ida flyby: Aug. 28, 1993
  • Atmospheric probe release: July 12, 1995
  • Jupiter arrival and orbit insertion: Dec. 7, 1995

Other organizations involved:

  • NASA Ames Research Center
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • The University of Arizona
  • More than 100 scientists from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, and Sweden carried out Galileo’s experiments