Q: Galileo, let's get to the question everyone wants to ask —
What are your feelings about being put on a collision course with
Jupiter, so that in September 2003 you will, in effect,
burn up in the planet's atmosphere?
Galileo: Well, Larry, really I couldn't be happier. I mean, I know what's
at stake. I saw firsthand the promising signs of a global ocean at Europa,
and I wouldn't want to contaminate the little Euros, whatever they may be!
Q: But couldn't they have just as easily targeted you in such a way
as to just throw you clear of the system?
Galileo: Damn, you mean that was an option??
Haha, just kidding. No really,
this is better! This is better. I mean, who wants to just fritter away the
next thousand or so years doing nothing? Go out with a bang, I say!
No "Old Spacecraft Home" for me, looking for the heliopause, yeah
right. No, give me a Magellan fate any day! Down right into the clouds,
taking fields and particles info all the way! Yessiree, it's the only
way to go.
Q: So you're not bitter?
Galileo: Naw. Listen, if it was good enough for the Probe (ole buddy,
ole Pal), it's good enough for me!
Q: Is there anything you wanted to learn, that you didn't, here at
Galileo: Oh YEAH!
Galileo: What the @*&^#%!! went wrong with my high-gain antenna!!??
Q: Heh, well, yes, you and several hundred scientists and engineers,
and several million taxpayers. But BESIDES that.
Galileo: I would have liked to discover a new moon. Heck, people on EARTH
are finding more Jupiter moons, and I'm HERE!
Q: Anything else?
Galileo: Well, I mean *I* saw it, but I wish I could have shown all of you
Amalthea. What a bitchin' little moon! I mean, that rock ROCKS!!
Q: Any further lessons you'd like to share, about your experiences here at
Galileo: Well, as you know, Larry, these last years at Jupiter were
great, but they were only HALF the adventure. Heck, getting past
Congress was a whole story all its own. But if I had to focus on one thing
I learned through it all, in the nearly 15 years in space and almost
that same in development, it is the importance of Communication.
Y'see, take the worst problem in the world — it may seem
INSURMOUNTABLE, but the truth is, if you can still communicate,
there's hope. There's a chance that you can find a solution.
Those JPL people, they are amazing. I'm out here, halfway to Jupiter,
and my high-gain antenna won't open. I really thought my goose was cooked!
But it wasn't. They found a way. It took time, effort, lots of patience and
work. But we could still communicate, and they helped me become
one of the greatest explorers of all time. I'm very grateful.
Q: So Galileo, 14
thousand images later, you traveled nearly 3 billion miles,
transmitted some 30 gigabytes of data — how would you like to be remembered?
Galileo: Well, I hope the Post Office can cough up a stamp in my honor.
I heard Feynman didn't get one, so who knows.
Oh! Larry, gee, gotta go, look at the time, er, the planet. I have
things to do, to get ready. You know it's not every day you barrel into the
hugest planet in the Solar System, heh heh! And that's another thing —
space is COLD! I got a little warmer flying over Io, but I'm really
looking forward to that intense heat in Jupiter's lower cloud
banks, yeah Baby!
So gotta go, give my regards to everyone, especially all the wonderful
people who tried to just *will* my antenna open!
BYE, and remember — communicate!