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Galileo ready for final Io flyby
Posted: Wed, Jan 16, 2002, 7:56 PM ET (0056 GMT)
Galileo at Jupiter illustration NASA's Galileo spacecraft will fly by Jupiter's volcanic moon Io for the final time on Thursday. Galileo will pass just 100 km above Io's surface at 9:09 am EST (1409 GMT) Thursday, the last in a series of close flybys of the moon, the innermost of Jupiter's four Galilean large moons. The flyby, the closest to date of Io, is required to set Galileo on a trajectory that will cause it to fall into Jupiter on September 2003, a move designed to prevent any chance of the spacecraft colliding with and contaminating Europa. Galileo will fly by Amalthea, a tiny inner moon, in November, but Thursday's flyby will be the last time Galileo's cameras will be used. NASA had previously announced that there would be no imaging at all during this flyby, but decided that the spacecraft's camera was still in good enough condition to operate.
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