19:57, Sunday 21 September 2003

Galileo just made its final plunge into Jupiter’s frankly unwelcoming gaseous heart – vapourised, sterilised and thoroughly mashed up as it did so. Goodbye sturdy traveller! We all got pretty misty-eyed about it round here (but not as misty-eyed as we did when little Sojourner was left behind on Mars).

While reading up on the final plunge I found NASA’s pretty good webcast archive, J B S Haldane’s 1954 speculations on ammonia-based lifeforms in Jupiter’s atmosphere (from David Darling’s amazing Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy and Spaceflight), New Scientist’s special report on the mission and some stuff about JIMO, the next generation, nuclear-powered Jupiter probe that will have enough onboard power to cruise around the icy moons like a minicab without waiting around for gravity assists.