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Latest Exploration of Mercury Stories

2012-06-22 12:00:39

MESSENGER will complete its 1,000th orbit of the planet closest to the Sun at 11:22 p.m. EDT tonight. "Reaching this milestone is yet another testimony to the hard work and dedication of the full MESSENGER team that has designed, launched, and operated this highly successful spacecraft," says the mission trajectory lead Jim McAdams of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. The spacecraft was inserted into orbit around Mercury in mid-March 2011, after...

Mickey Mouse Seen On Mercury
2012-06-19 06:49:23

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com NASA's MESSENGER probe has sent back an image from Mercury that is either an alien's sense of humor, or a few asteroid's depiction of Mickey Mouse on the sun-baked planet. A Mickey Mouse face can now be seen on Mercury's surface thanks to NASA's MESSENGER probe, which became the first spacecraft to orbit the planet back in March 2011. The shape is made up of three overlapping craters on Mercury's southern hemisphere, northwest of the crater known as...

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2011-08-04 06:45:00

Seven years ago, on August 3, 2004, MESSENGER left Earth aboard a three-stage Boeing Delta II rocket to begin a journey that would take it more than 15 laps through the solar system, through six planetary flybys, and ultimately into orbit around Mercury. The spacecraft has travelled 5.247 billion miles (8.445 billion kilometers) relative to the Sun, and the team is one-third of the way through the one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. "As exciting as it was at the...

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2011-05-09 08:21:14

On May 6th, MESSENGER began its 100th orbit around Mercury. Since its insertion into orbit about the innermost planet on March 17, the spacecraft has executed nearly 2 million commands. The data gathered so far include more than 70 million magnetic field measurements, 300,000 visible and infrared spectra of the surface, 16,000 images, and 12,000 X-ray and 9,000 gamma-ray spectra probing the elemental composition of Mercury's uppermost crust. "As the primary orbital phase of the MESSENGER...

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2011-03-31 05:00:00

NASA released the first batch of hundreds of photos taken by MESSENGER during its orbit of Mercury on Wednesday. The images show numerous battle scars on the planet, which scientists said are from space rocks regularly pelting Mercury at high speeds. MESSENGER's images have revealed a planet full of craters from pieces of asteroids and comets. Mission chief scientists Sean Solomon said scientists are surprised to see more secondary craters than expected. Scientists said that those craters...

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2011-03-30 05:50:00

On Tuesday, NASA released the first image the MESSENGER spacecraft has taken during its close-up encounter of the planet Mercury. The first image taken by the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft focuses on a 50-mile-wide crater called Debussy. MESSENGER has taken 363 more photographs of Mercury so far, some of which NASA will release on Wednesday. MESSENGER is the first spacecraft to visit the planet since the Mariner mission in 1974. ...

2010-07-15 13:50:00

WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first spacecraft designed by NASA to orbit Mercury is giving scientists a new perspective on the planet's atmosphere and evolution. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Launched in August 2004, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft, known as MESSENGER, conducted a third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009....

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2010-07-15 14:30:00

The first spacecraft designed by NASA to orbit Mercury is giving scientists a new perspective on the planet's atmosphere and evolution. Launched in August 2004, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft, known as MESSENGER, conducted a third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009. The probe completed a critical maneuver using the planet's gravity to remain on course to enter into orbit around Mercury next year. Data from the final flyby has revealed the...

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2010-04-01 07:23:13

The solar system's innermost planets are about to put on a beautiful show. This week, Mercury is emerging from the glare of the sun and making a beeline for Venus. By week's end, the two planets will be just 3o apart, an eye-catching pair in the deep-blue twilight of sunset. The best nights to look are April 3rd and 4th. Go outside at the end of the day and face west. Venus pops out of the twilight first, so bright it actually shines through thin clouds. Mercury follows, just below and to the...

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2010-02-27 10:10:00

Today the MESSENGER spacecraft crossed the four-billion-mile mark since its launch. The probe has completed about 81 percent of its journey toward its destination to be the first spacecraft inserted into orbit about Mercury. That MESSENGER's odometer reading has reached another major milestone reminds us of the long and complex route that our spacecraft must follow. Mercury orbits deep within the Sun's gravity well. So, even though the planet can be as close as 82 million kilometers (51...