American and European

Cassini-Huygens was launched in 1997 as a joint effort of NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. Seventeen nations contributed to building the spacecraft. After seven years in space and four gravity assists from planets, Cassini arrived at Saturn, its main mission goal, in 2004. Along the way, Cassini flew by Jupiter while Galileo was there, and both craft obtained data at the same time. Cassini observed Jupiter from October 1, 2000, to March 31, 2001, with its closest approach on December 30, 2000, at a distance of 9.7 million km.

At present there is no future mission to Jupiter at any advanced stage of planning. One exciting mission was the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, but its rocky path to a green light ended instead by cancellation by Congress. The variety and especially the potential for the development of life on Jupiter's icy moons will continue to draw the attention of the space community, and future missions to the moons of Jupiter are almost inevitable.

Part Two: Saturn

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment