Galileo takes the plunge

GalileoAfter five months of independent flight, the Galileo atmospheric probe slams into the atmosphere of giant planet Jupiter at a speed over 100,000mph, burrowing over a hundred miles into the huge planet’s dense atmosphere before the heat of entry and the atmospheric pressure crush the probe. Deploying a parachute to slow its descent, the probe survives for nearly an hour, its sensors finding a surprisingly dry atmosphere. As it plummets toward the center of Jupiter, the Galileo probe registers 450mph winds, but never finds any hints of anything resembling a solid surface. The sum total of the probe’s sensor readings – the entirety of our data gathered directly within the atmosphere of Jupiter – tops out at 460 kilobytes of data.