This set of activities has shown the wealth of information obtainable from the simplest black and white images of a planetary surface. Much of the first wave of reconnaissance of the solar system was done in just this way, with scientists working to understand the little information they had from the early planetary spacecraft. The Galileo spacecraft, which will remain in orbit in the Jovian system until late 1997, not only has a camera capable of taking black and white images of the surfaces of the satellites, but also has a wealth of other instruments to augment this information. The camera has filters in six different colors, allowing color images to be taken and analyzed. This can yield valuable information about the chemical composition of surface materials. Other instruments on Galileo allow it to measure properties of Jupiter and its satellites at a variety of near infrared wavelengths, investigate the radiation and magnetic environments, and obtain more precise measurements of the sizes and densities of the satellites. Galileo's two-year tour through the Jovian system should provide information for scientists to study for years to come.
Sources: Some information in this module was adapted from Craters: A Multi-Science Approach to Cratering and Impacts, by W.K. Hartmann and J. Cain. A Joint Project of the National Science Teachers Association, The Planetary Society, and NASA. Published by the National Science Teachers Association, 1995.
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Galileo Solid State Imaging Team Leader: Dr. Michael J. S. Belton
The SSI Education and Public Outreach webpages were originally created and managed by Matthew Fishburn and Elizabeth Alvarez with significant assistance from Kelly Bender, Ross Beyer, Detrick Branston, Stephanie Lyons, Eileen Ryan, and Nalin Samarasinha.
Last updated: September 17, 1999, by Matthew Fishburn
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