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Camera fails during Galileo flyby of Io
Posted: Tue, Aug 7, 2001, 12:39 PM ET (1639 GMT)
Galileo at Jupiter illustration NASA's Galileo spacecraft completed a close flyby of Jupiter's moon Io Monday, but a camera failure during the flyby means that most of the images planned for the flyby were not taken. Galileo flew to within 200 kilometers of the north pole of the volcanic moon, the innermost of Jupiter's four large Galilean satellites, at 12:59 am EDT (0459 GMT) Monday, project officials at JPL reported. However, the spacecraft's camera appears to have shut down during the time of the closest flyby: project manager Eilene Theilig said that at least 9 of the 16 observations planned for the flyby were likely lost. The cameras had suffered a number of problems during recent flybys, likely caused by electronic components in the camera that have been damaged by radiation exposure. Monday's camera failure makes it less likely NASA will extend the imaging mission of Galileo past the end of this year despite requests from some scientists to do so; Galileo's overall mission is scheduled to end in 2003. Other instruments on the spacecraft appear to be working fine, and the data collected by the spacecraft will be transmitted to Earth over the next two months. Galileo will fly by Io again, passing over the moon's south pole, October 16.
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