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<a href='/solarsystem/sun/index.html'>sun</a> Sun
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A Light Year
Six probes have visited Jupiter.
The first was launched in the early 1970s.

Jupiter Probes

Pioneer 10
Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and flew within 81,000 miles (130,000 kilometers) of Jupiter on Dec. 3, 1973. The probe revealed the severe effects of Jupiter's radiation belt on spacecraft. Pioneer 10 also reported the amount of hydrogen and helium in the planet's atmosphere. In addition, the probe discovered that Jupiter has an enormous magnetosphere.

Voyager 1 and 2

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flew past Jupiter in March and July 1979, respectively. These craft carried more sensitive instruments than did the Pioneers, and transmitted much more information. Astronomers used photographs taken by the Voyagers to make the first detailed maps of the Galilean satellites. The Voyagers also revealed sulfur volcanoes on Io, discovered lightning in Jupiter's clouds, and mapped flow patterns in the cloud bands.

Check out this annimation of Voyager 1 approach to Jupiter

NASA's Voyager Site


Launched on October 18, 1989:The Galileo spacecraft rides in the payload bay, ready to begin a long journey to the realm of the outer planets. Its mission is to study Jupiter and its moons in more detail than any previous spacecraft.

The spacecraft is named in honor of the first modern astronomer --- Galileo Galilei. He made the first observations of the heavens using a telescope in 1610.


Ulysses was launched in October 1990 and passed by Jupiter in February 1992. The European Space Agency, an organization of Western European nations, had built the probe mainly to study the sun's polar regions. Scientists used the tremendous gravitational force of Jupiter to put Ulysses into an orbit that would take it over the sun's polar regions. As Ulysses passed by Jupiter, it gathered data indicating that the solar wind has a much greater effect on Jupiter's magnetosphere than earlier measurements had suggested.


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