NASA’S MESSENGER Spacecraft Begins Historic Orbit of Mercury


NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, Geochemistry, and Ranging, or MESSENGER spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around Mercury at approximately 9 p.m. EDT Thursday. This marks the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this engineering and scientific milestone at our solar system’s innermost planet. Shown is reaction in MESSENGER mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., as engineers received telemetry data confirming orbit insertion, plus animated depiction of the event. Among other goals, MESSENGER is expected to detect whether ice exists at Mercury’s poles.

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  1. Actually, Messenger is the second spacecraft to reach Mercury three decades after Mariner 10, and now it becomes the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Mariner 10 mapped 45 percent of Mercury. Before entering orbit, Messenger mapped 98 percent of Mercury. Messenger will map both poles of Mercury to complete 100 percent mapping of Mercury soon. This year, Messenger will analyze the possible ice water on both poles and Mercury's magnetosphere. Messenger's one-year primary mission began on April 4.

  2. @Dorisequador Do you relaise that such a Voyage would take 50 Billion years? And thats just one way to the nearest galaxy (Andromeda) Thats a long time to be glued to the TV. Plus you mus add 2.2 Million years for each picture to be sent back.

    "Let them close down. Who cares"

    Yeah lets fall back from the brink of enlightenment to a couple of thousands years of ridiculous myth, susperstition and religious bollocks, great idea

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