This is both a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) update and a public service announcement. Ted Stryk has been working for years to locate the original Pioneer 10 and 11 image data from the Jupiter and Saturn encounters.
Although I am not suffering under the "snowpocalypse" on the East Coast, I woke up to Monday absolutely buried under a massive pile of things to do for both home and work, and it looks like it's going to take me a few days to dig out. So, with apologies, I'm going to make today's post a linky one.
Galileo, the scientist, discovered the Galilean satellites of Jupiter four hundred years ago next month, while Galileo, the mission, arrived at Jupiter to study those moons in situ fourteen years ago Sunday.
As New Horizons continues its journey (it's now approaching the orbital distance of Saturn, though it's very far from that planet in space), the mission is taking advantage of the recent experience with the Jupiter flyby to plan out the science operations for the Pluto-Charon encounter.
There were two new pictures posted on the New Horizons Science Operations Center website this morning, of Io, and if you enhance the images a bit, there are two clear volcanic plumes visible on the limb -- Tvashtar and Prometheus are active!
A year after its launch on January 19, 2006, New Horizons is fast closing in on Jupiter, the first target on its near decade-long journey. On February 28 the spacecraft will approach to within 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) of Jupiter before speeding along on to its way to the edge of the solar system.
I said earlier I was going to cover the poster sessions next, and there are some cool things that I want to write about, but I thought I'd better get to something a bit more topical a bit sooner: Europa and the other Galilean satellites, and when (if!?) we'll be exploring them again.