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New findings from Galileo's Jupiter visit (photos)

The Galileo spacecraft was sent hurtling into the crushing atmosphere of Jupiter in 2003 but scientists are still making discoveries from the data it sent back.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 17 Andy Smith/ZDNet

NASA's Galileo spacecraft had an incredibly productive lifetime, capped by a tour of the planet Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003. The spacecraft may have died in the Jovian atmosphere but the data it sent back is still being examined and new findings are being uncovered.

Most recent is the discovery of a subsurface ocean of molten or partially molten magma beneath the surface of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io according to a new study by scientists at UCLA, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Michigan.

In this gallery we'll take a look at the 10 top images from Galileo and the space probe's major findings about the largest planet in the solar system.

Credit: NASA

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Here's a look at the volcanically active moon Io (right) and its hot spots (left) shown in an infrared color-coded image taken in 2001. The hottest areas are indicated in white and the hottest area on the map is where the arrow points. Red is the next hottest color, then yellow.

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Here's the first of NASA's top ten scientific images showing the moon, Europe, and its ice shell moving slowly over a briny ocean that's about 60 miles deep.

Europa is now seen as a potential habitat for extraterrestrial life.

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This closer look at the ice surface of Europa shows a white area that is covered by a fine dust of ice particles while the brown area "has been painted by mineral contaminants carried and spread by water vapor released from below the crust when it was disrupted," according to NASA.

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En route to Jupiter, Galileo snapped this photo of the asteroid 243 Ida from about 6,500 miles. The bright spot to the right is the first known moon to orbit an asteroid. The color has been enhanced, it's actually gray.

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This view of an area called Galileo Regio on Jupiter's moon Ganymede show an area that's been pepper by impact craters for several billion years.

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This volcano in the Tvashtar region of Io was found to be hotter than any active volcano on Earth.

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Active volcanos on Io are highlighted during an eclipse. Red indicates the most heat..

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This image of Jupiter's moon Callisto shows a region that contains no small impact craters - meaning they must have been eroded away.

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The light blue region around the Great Red Spot shows an ammonia ice cloud. It has been formed by updrafts of ammonia from deep within Jupiter's atmosphere. The Great Red Spot is a storm that has been raging for at least 300 years. It's about twice as big as the diameter of Earth.

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These images show lightning storms on the night side of Jupiter.

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In the final image included in Galileo's best, Jupiter's Gossamer rings "are a short lived dynamic phenomena that is the result of small dust particles being ejected from the moons as a result of impacts due to energetic particles in the magnetosphere," according to NASA.

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One of Galileo's top discoveries is a magnetic field on the solar system's largest moon, Ganymede.

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Evidence indicates there most likely is a subsurface ocean on the moon Callisto. Shown here in true color on the left and enhanced right, "reveals a gradual variation across the moon's hemisphere, perhaps due to implantation of materials onto the surface from space," according to NASA.

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In 1994 during its approach to Jupiter, Galileo provided the only direct observation of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's collision with the planet. Fragment W is shown here.

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Here are true and false colors of an equatorial hotspot. When Galileo arrived at Jupiter, it sent a probe into the planet's atmosphere which indicated thunderstorms many times larger than Earth's.

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Some of Jupiter's more interesting smaller moons as revealed by Galileo.

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