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NASA salvages last data of Galileo mission

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA said Tuesday it has completed a long-distance repair of the tape recorder aboard Galileo, allowing the aging spacecraft to transmit to Earth the last scientific data of its seven-year mission at Jupiter.

The tape recorder conked out last month during a flyby of Amalthea, an inner moon of Jupiter. Radiation damage from nearby Jupiter left the recorder inoperable for weeks, stranding data about the magnetic environment close to Jupiter collected during the Nov. 4-5 flyby.

Engineers managed to fix the recorder and begin playback of the data last week. Playback will continue until mid-January. Scientists hope the data contain information about the gossamer ring of dust that surrounds Jupiter.

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