For the first time ever, two interplanetary spacecraft are studying the same outer planet at the same time. A new Internet site will keep people on our own planet up to date about the adventure.
The Jupiter Millennium Flyby site maintained by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., gives visitors a travel guide of NASA's Cassini and Galileo spacecraft near Jupiter from October through March. It will provide regular updates of new information and pictures gathered by the spacecraft and by related Jupiter research.
The site is at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jupiterflyby .
Cassini will pass near Jupiter in December to gain the gravitational assist it needs for reaching its main objective, Saturn, more than three years later. Its closest approach to Jupiter will be about 10 million kilometers (6 million miles) away, on Dec. 30, 2000. It began returning Jupiter pictures and data last week, from about eight times farther away.
Galileo has been orbiting Jupiter since late 1995, still making discoveries after more than double its planned orbital lifespan and triple its planned radiation exposure. Galileo is currently in a distant portion of an elongated orbit and will be returning close to Jupiter in December. A coordinated plan of studies aims to use the opportunity of having two different vantage points to gain new information about Jupiter, its moons, and its surrounding environment.
The Jupiter Millennium Flyby site will offer several animations from various points of view. It also has educational material for classroom use.
Cassini is a cooperative endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini and Galileo missions for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
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