In December, 1990, Galileo began its “Earth-1” maneuver: the first Earth flyby. This happened to coincide with the buildup to the first Gulf War. nasa had to inform the North American Aerospace Defense Command that the blip that would appear on its radar screens on December 8th—an incredibly fast-moving object that might well seem to originate from the Middle East—was not an enemy missile but a robotic spacecraft coming from Venus. — Michael Benson —What Galileo Saw (New Yorker)
NASA can use a booster story like this, especially due to the critical reception of the findings of the Columbia investigation. There are some sad notes in this story, like the fate of Randy Tufts’s Europa explorer.