Saying goodbye at Galileo’s pyre

Galileo wasn’t burned on a pyre, you argue. True, but the Galileo Orbiter, coming to the end of its mission exploring the Jovian satellites, will be de-orbited on September 21st and sent plunging into Jupiter’s atmosphere. Slashdot has the usual geek chorus commenting on a thorough story in The New Yorker. (Sample level of detail: Galileo is being deliberately de-orbited and burnt up so that any microbes it may be carrying won’t contaminate Europa, its likely crash site, whose enormous frozen ocean may prove a fertile breeding ground for invading microbes.) Popular Science has a brief mention and a pointer to the crash countdown at JPL, which also hosts links to dozens of other facts gathered by Galileo in its epochal mission.