Cover image for Mission Jupiter : the spectacular journey of the Galileo spacecraft
Mission Jupiter : the spectacular journey of the Galileo spacecraft
Fischer, Daniel.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Mission Jupiter. English
Publication Information:
New York : Copernicus, [2001]

Physical Description:
xv, 317 pages, 32 pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


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QB661 .F57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this exciting story of the Galileo mission to investigate Jupiter, noted astronomer Daniel Fischer weaves together the many disparate facts learned about this most fascinating planet and its satellites.
Fischer tells the entire story of Galileo: a behind-the-scenes look at its difficult course from idea to reality; its launch; the problems it encountered early on and how these were resolved; and finally, what will become of the probe. Along the way, the author describes what we have learned about Jupiter, including what the Jovian atmosphere is really like, and the peculiar reality of the planets magnetic field.
The story of the journey to Jupiter is combined with interesting details about Galileos capacities and a graphic description of the solar system, with an episode on how Galileo would judge the chances of finding life on Earth. The book concludes with a look at the future, closing on the Cassini probe to Saturn. Beautifully illustrated and well written, Mission Jupiter shows us space exploration at its best and clearly and vividly conveys the essential science.

Author Notes

Daniel Fischer is a columnist for the German astronomy journal Sterne und Weltraum and publisher of the newsletter Skyweek. Daniel Fischer is the 1997 winner of the Bruno H. Buergel Award of the German Astronomische Gesellschaft (Astronomical Society)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Nearly out of thruster fuel, the spectacularly successful Galileo spacecraft is currently making its final laps of the Jovian system, so Fischer's stocktaking is timely. A star-crossed craft, Galileo has encountered numerous technical problems, especially the failure of its main antenna to unfold, that followers of solar system exploration all know about but which Fischer usefully recounts for noncognoscenti. The antenna crisis spelled disaster until engineers devised ways to send Galileo's data through a weaker backup antenna, resulting in the images adorning Fischer's account and others. The pictures remind readers that Galileo has observed more than Jupiter and its consorts. Swinging by Venus, Earth, and two asteroids, it made new discoveries about them, too. Discoveries about Earth? Yes, indeed: Galileo's instruments detected evidence of biological activity. But the big payoff has been that of Jupiter, and Fischer excitedly describes the major revelations, the most intriguing of them being new El Dorados for volcanologists--the eruption-wracked moon Io--and for exobiologists--the glaciated moon Europa, with its putative subsurface ocean. Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

As the award-winning editor of a German astronomy journal, Fischer (Hubble Revisited: New Images from the Discovery Machine; etc.) possesses the expertise needed for an overview of NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter and its moons, though because the mission is still underway, it is too soon yet for a definitive summing up. NASA has reserved its rights to the story, with publication expected sometime in 2003. In the meantime, Fischer's readable account is one of the few book-length treatments available. To date, most of the published material on Galileo has appeared in professional and popular science journals, one recent exception being David Harland's Jupiter Odyssey, which, like Fischer's book, is published under an imprint of Springer-Verlag. Fischer, who has covered Jupiter exploration extensively in his magazine, writes for a popular audience, handily guiding the reader through the first Pioneer and Voyager probes of the 1970s, the five-year exploration of the Jovian system and the Jupiter flyby of the Cassini space probe, headed to Saturn for explorations beginning in 2004. Throughout, he provides handy summary boxes of findings and scores of illustrations including more than 40 breathtaking full-color images of Jupiter, the volcanic landscape of the moon Io and, of course, the spectacular ice crusts of Europa. As an editor working in Germany (and in German), Fischer is reporting as an outsider to the American space program, which puts him at a disadvantage. But until Galileo's mission is completed and the histories and memoirs begin pouring out of NASA, this book will serve as a much-needed addition to the popular literature. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Originally published in German in 1998, Fischer's book tells the story of the Galileo space probe, which reached Jupiter in late 1995. The mission was hampered by political and technical problems, such as budget cuts that delayed its start and a high-gain antenna that never opened. Nonetheless, its successes were significant: amazing pictures, reams of data from onboard scientific instruments, and numerous discoveries about Jupiter and its unique moons. Astronomer Fischer, who edits a German astronomy journal and has written about the Hubble telescope, recounts the mission's history well, albeit from a decidedly German perspective (referring frequently to German companies that made parts on the space probe). The text contains new material that updates the original publication, but the translation is occasionally weak in its explanations of difficult technical matters. This book would be appropriate for large libraries, although David M. Harland's Jupiter Odyssey: The Story of NASA's Galileo Mission (Springer-Verlag, 2000) provides a clearer and more complete account of the mission. Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado at Denver Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Fischer tells the story of the Galileo spacecraft in an updated English version of a book published in Germany in 1998. Many books have been written about the solar system, but few have been directed at Jupiter. David Morrison and Jane Samz's Voyage to Jupiter (CH, May'81), for example, is now more than 20 years old. There is, indeed, a need for a detailed account of the Galileo flight, and Fischer has done an excellent job in tracking its history. There are a large number of black-and-white photographs throughout the book and a center section of 32 pages of beautiful color photographs. As might be expected, a large section of the book deals with the moons of Jupiter, because the planet has some of the most exciting moons in the solar system. Io, with its sulfur volcanoes, is discussed in detail, and there is an excellent discussion of the marking on Europa's surface. One of the most important questions in relation to Europa is, of course, Does it have an ocean beneath its outer surface? The consensus in this book is that it does. Strongly recommended. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. B. R. Parker emeritus, Idaho State University

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Original Editionp. v
Foreword to the English Editionp. xi
Chapter 1 The Long Journey to Jupiterp. 1
December 7, 1995: Rendez-vous with a Giantp. 1
The King of Planets Has Always Beckonedp. 6
The First Pioneersp. 9
The Voyagers' "Grand Tour"p. 17
From an Idea to a Billion-Dollar Spacecraftp. 38
Chapter 2 Discoveries Under Wayp. 51
The Trip to Venusp. 51
The Mission Beginsp. 55
"Cruising" to Venus and Backp. 66
Learning About Earth's Sister Planetp. 68
Return to Earthp. 73
Is There Life on Earth?p. 77
The Darkest Hourp. 82
Gaspra: The First Encounter with an Asteroidp. 86
Scenarios for Living Without the Main Antennap. 95
Off to Jupiter!p. 97
The Second Return to Earthp. 99
The Second Asteroid: Ida and Its Little Moonp. 103
Front-Row Seats for the Comet Crashp. 108
Chapter 3 Arrival and the Atmospheric Probep. 113
Four Hundred Years of Jupiter Researchp. 113
Finally There: The Task of the Atmospheric Probep. 120
Arrival Dayp. 124
The Hour of Truthp. 128
Analysisp. 132
The Cruise Beginsp. 138
Chapter 4 Looping from Moon to Moonp. 143
Ganymede: A Ball of Ice with Furrows and a Magnetic Fieldp. 143
Deciphering Jupiter's Colorful Cloudsp. 158
An Ocean Under Europa's Icy Crust?p. 171
Beyond the Visible: Jupiter's Powerful Magnetospherep. 205
Io the Miracle Moon: Endless Volcanic Activityp. 221
Even More: A Ring, Mini-Moons, and Dust Streamsp. 232
Callisto, the Outsiderp. 246
Jupiter and the Four Galilean Moons--A Planetary System in Miniaturep. 252
Chapter 5 What the Future Holds in Storep. 263
Galileo Flies Onp. 263
Another Mission Extension--and Another One!p. 266
Beyond Galileo: Keeping Our Sights on Europap. 271
The Future Has Begun: Cassini on the Way to Saturnp. 276
Timelinep. 287
Keep Up to Date!p. 293
Indexp. 303