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Galileo flies by Amalthea, enters safe mode
Posted: Wed, Nov 6, 2002, 1:52 PM ET (1852 GMT)
Galileo at Jupiter illustration NASA's Galileo spacecraft flew by Jupiter's small inner moon Amalthea early Tuesday but went into a protective safe mode shortly thereafter, project officials reported. Galileo, making its last scientific flyby of its mission, came within 160 kilometers of Amalthea during the early morning hours Tuesday. The spacecraft appeared to be operating well during the flyby but contact was lost 30 minutes after closest approach, presumably as the spacecraft entered a protective safe mode triggered by radiation exposure, as has happened during several previous flybys. Although Galileo's camera was turned off for the Amalthea flyby, due to limited resources and problems with the instrument, the spacecraft did collect data on the mass and density of the moon as well as magnetic field conditions in the area. Project officials are working to restore contact with the spacecraft so that it can return the data it recorded during the flyby. Galileo, launched in 1989 and in orbit around Jupiter since December 1995, is scheduled to end its mission next September when it plunges into Jupiterís atmosphere. Tuesday's flyby was the last scheduled for the spacecraft before its final encounter with the giant planet.
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