Latest Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Stories

MESSENGER at Mercury
2014-08-04 03:15:10

NASA Ten years ago, on August 3, 2004, NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a risky mission that would take the small satellite dangerously close to Mercury’s surface, paving the way for an ambitious study of the planet closest to the Sun. The spacecraft traveled 4.9 billion miles (7.9 billion kilometers) — a journey that included 15 trips around the Sun and flybys of Earth once,...

2012-11-08 08:08:49

Media representatives are invited to attend a ceremony to announce the renaming of NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP). The event takes place Nov. 9 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 pm EST, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Building 200, 11101 Johns Hopkins Rd., Laurel, Md. Along with the announcement of a new name and presentations highlighting the spacecraft's commissioning activities, there will be a tour of the RBSP mission operation facilities. The...

Changes In Martian Sand Dunes Monitored By Mars Orbiter
2012-05-09 15:13:05

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed that movement in sand dune fields on the Red Planet occurs on a surprisingly large scale, about the same as in dune fields on Earth. This is unexpected because Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth, is only about one percent as dense, and its high-speed winds are less frequent and weaker than Earth's. For years, researchers debated whether sand dunes observed on Mars were mostly fossil features related to past climate, rather than...

2012-05-04 03:23:13

This week, MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System delivered the 100,000th image of Mercury since the spacecraft entered into orbit around the planet on March 18, 2011. The instrument – one of seven aboard the spacecraft – has globally mapped the planet in high-resolution monochrome images and in color images through eight of its color filters, uncovering a new view of Mercury and shedding light on the planet's geologic history. "That our inventory of orbital images of Mercury...

2012-03-20 02:38:51

On March 17, 2012, MESSENGER successfully wrapped up a year-long campaign to perform the first complete reconnaissance of the geochemistry, geophysics, geologic history, atmosphere, magnetosphere, and plasma environment of the solar system's innermost planet. The following day, March 18, 2012, marked the official start of an extended phase designed to build upon those discoveries. What MESSENGER has accomplished since its launch in August 2004 is "amazing," says MESSENGER Mission Systems...

Image 1 - Strange Hollows Discovered On Mercury
2011-10-25 04:10:27

[ Watch the Video ] NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has discovered strange hollows on the surface of Mercury. Images taken from orbit reveal thousands of peculiar depressions at a variety of longitudes and latitudes, ranging in size from 60 feet to over a mile across and 60 to 120 feet deep. No one knows how they got there. "These hollows were a major surprise," says David Blewett, science team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "We've been thinking of...

2011-09-09 09:31:06

Data collected during MESSENGER´s first two months in orbit around Mercury have been released to the public by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all of NASA´s planetary mission data. Calibrated data from all seven of MESSENGER´s science instruments, plus radio science data from the spacecraft telecommunications system, are included in this release. “It's a real milestone for the first data ever obtained from orbit around...

2011-07-27 09:39:10

The MESSENGER spacecraft continued to fine-tune its orbit around Mercury yesterday afternoon when mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., successfully executed the second orbit-correction maneuver of the mission. The 3-minute, 8-second engine burn stretched the spacecraft's orbit around the innermost planet from 11 hours 48 minutes to a precise 12 hours. This second of an expected five maneuvers planned for the mission's primary...

Word of the Day
  • One of a religious order living in a convent or in community; a monk: opposed to anchoret or hermit (one who lives in solitude).
  • A social bee.
This word comes from the Latin 'coenobium,' convent, which comes from the Greek 'koinobios,' living in community.