Science

Galileo takes closer look at Io

The Galileo spacecraft made its closest pass ever of Jupiter's moon Io on Monday

The Galileo spacecraft made its closest pass ever of Jupiter's moon Io on Monday, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.

Galileo came within 180 km of Io's surface as it passed over its south pole. This was Galileo's sixth visit to Jupiter's volcanic moon.

Io is one of Jupiter's four major moons, the closest one to the giant gas planet.

Io is also the the most active volcanic body in the solar system, its interior kept molten by a gravitational tug-of-war between Jupiter and its other moons.

This close pass was designed to allow Galileo to take measurements of Io's magnetic field, which will provide information about the moon's iron core.

Galileo has been orbiting Jupiter since December 1995 and has made 32 orbits of the planet since then. In 2003 it will be sent into Jupiter's atmosphere.

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