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The first talk I attended at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston was my one icy satellite talk for the day.
It was 400 years ago today that Galileo discovered smaller planets attending the planet Jupiter.
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.
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.