Spacecraft Galileo: The Last Interview

[From August 2003]

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Hello and welcome to a rare interview with Spacecraft Galileo,
who is orbiting Jupiter now.

This is indeed the LAST interview Galileo will be giving, since the spacecraft is on a collision course with the huge gas planet.

But without further introduction, let's welcome him today ...

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

Spacecraft Galileo Interview, Jupiter
approach background

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 Jupiter?

Galileo: Oh YEAH!

Q: What?

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 Jupiter?

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!

[End of Transmission]

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Dedicated to the Galileo Mission's wonderful
Not Ready for Real-time Players


Interview Images and Text by
Sue Kientz
with help from NASA images