Juno Jupiter Mission to Carry Plaque Dedicated to Galileo
A plaque dedicated to the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei will be carried to Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The launch period for Juno opens Aug. 5, 2011, and extends through Aug. 26. For an Aug. 5 liftoff, the launch window opens at 8:34 a.m. PDT (11:34 a.m. EDT) and remains open through 9:43 a.m. PDT (12:43 p.m. EDT).
Among his many achievements, Galileo Galilei discovered that moons orbited Jupiter in 1610. These satellites — Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto — are also known as the Galilean moons.
The plaque, which was provided by the Italian Space Agency, measures 2.8 by 2 inches (71 by 51 millimeters), is made of flight-grade aluminum and weighs six grams (0.2 ounces). It was bonded to Juno’s propulsion bay with a spacecraft-grade epoxy. The graphic on the plaque depicts a self-portrait of Galileo. It also includes — in Galileo’s own hand — a passage he made in 1610 of observations of Jupiter, archived in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence.