He’s probably most famous for his cameo in Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but 16th century scientist Galileo actually accomplished a fair number of other feats. While he didn’t invent the telescope (one of many instruments he engineered), his improvements to it changed our knowledge of the skies. With it, he discovered a number of the bodies of our Solar System. He was a champion of the scientific method and laid the groundwork for many of the modern principles of Astronomy and Physics.
In other words, dude kicks ass.
NASA’s Galileo mission sent a probe to explore the asteroid belt and Jovian space. In 2003, the Galileo spacecraft ended its mission in a spectacular fashion, plunging into the surface of Jupiter. Before that, however, Galileo’s namesake did quite a bit of discovering of its own.
It’s not just NASA, even Pope Eggs Benedict thinks he’s awesome. Despite the fact that Galileo was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in Rome in 1633, he’s now being honoured with a statue within the walls of the Vatican. That being said, it wasn’t until 1992 that the Catholic church officially agreed that the Earth wasn’t stationary – nearly 400 years after the publication of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius.