One of the scenes in the new Space Show, Dark Universe takes viewers along for a 106,000 mile-an-hour descent into Jupiter’s atmosphere with the Galileo probe—an action-packed visualization created by scientists and artists working closely to make sure that every detail, from the probe’s rotation speed to the color of the Jovian atmosphere to the instruments on the probe’s exterior were scientifically accurate.

The scene is based on the 1995 launch of the probe from the Galileo spacecraft, part of NASA’s mission to explore the largest planet in our solar system. But with Jupiter 365 million miles away, how does the Space Show production team accurately render the giant planet?

Galileo probe descending into Jupiter's atmosphere, a scene from the Space Show, Dark Universe. © AMNH


When the probe descended through the Jovian atmosphere, its six on-board instruments collected data about the abundance of lighting, the wind speed, the type of clouds, and even the chemical composition of the atmosphere. These measurements were transmitted to the Galileo spacecraft, then sent back to Earth—providing clues not just about the nature of the atmosphere, but also about the formation of our universe. Artists at the Museum used this same information to create precise visualizations for Dark Universe.

Keep reading here to learn the details of the mission and how it provided evidence for the Big Bang theory.

Jupiter Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Learn more about the new Space Show, Dark Universe, now showing at the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater.