Latest Mercury spacecraft Stories

2008-01-30 13:00:00

After a journey of more than 2.2 billion miles and three and a half years, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft made its first flyby of Mercury just after 2 PM Eastern Standard Time on January 14, 2008. All seven scientific instruments worked flawlessly, producing a stream of surprises that is amazing and delighting the science team. The 1,213 images conclusively show that the planet is a lot less like the Moon than many previously thought, with features unique to this innermost world. The puzzling...

2008-01-22 17:15:00

One week ago, the MESSENGER spacecraft transmitted to Earth the first high-resolution image of Mercury by a spacecraft in over 30 years since the three Mercury flybys of Mariner 10 in 1974 and 1975. MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera (WAC), part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), is equipped with 11 narrow-band color filters, in contrast to the two visible-light filters and one ultraviolet filter that were on Mariner 10's vidicon camera. By combining images taken through different filters...

2008-01-21 16:25:00

"Discoveries are at hand!" That's what members of the MESSENGER science team are saying after their spacecraft flew past Mercury on Jan. 14th at a distance of only 124 miles. The historic flyby netted 500 megabytes of data (now safely downloaded to Earth) and more than 1200 photos covering nearly six million square miles of previously unseen terrain. "We're inundated with data"”it's wonderful," says mission scientist and planetary geologist Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins Applied...

2008-01-18 10:20:00

The European Space Agency (ESA) signaled the start of a busy period for the planet Mercury, when it signed the contract for industrial development to start for the BepiColombo mission today (18th January 2008) at Astrium in Friedrichshafen, Germany. UK scientists and industry have key roles in BepiColombo, including construction of spacecraft subsystems and science instrument design.BepiColombo, a mission to make the most comprehensive study of Mercury ever, is due for launch in August 2013....

2008-01-17 07:49:31

Scientists are sifting through their first new views of the planet Mercury in more than three decades thanks to images beamed home by NASA's MESSENGER probe. The car-sized spacecraft zipped past Mercury in a Monday flyby and is relaying more than 1,200 new images and other data back to eager scientists on Earth. "Now it's time for the scientific payoff," MESSENGER principal investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington told SPACE.com after the flyby....

2008-01-15 19:10:00

When Mariner 10 flew past Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975, the same hemisphere was in sunlight during each encounter. As a consequence, Mariner 10 was able to image less than half the planet. Planetary scientists have wondered for more than 30 years about what spacecraft images might reveal about the hemisphere of Mercury that Mariner 10 never viewed. On January 14, 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft observed about half of the hemisphere missed by Mariner 10. This image was snapped by the...

2008-01-14 09:40:09

Mercury is the smallest, densest and least explored planet around the sun. More than half of it is virtually unknown. Insights into this mysterious world of extremes could shed light on how planets were made in our solar system, astronomers say. NASA's MESSENGER probe will be the first spacecraft to image the whole planet, making its initial flyby of Mercury Jan. 14 as part of a long process to settle into orbit. "With MESSENGER, many of Mercury's secrets will now be...

2008-01-14 16:10:00

As the MESSENGER spacecraft approached Mercury for its first flyby, the Narrow Angle Camera, part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) instrument acquired a series of optical navigation images. The nine images shown in the video were taken between January 9 and January 13, 2008, when MESSENGER was between 1.6 million miles and 484,000 miles away from Mercury. At the beginning of the image sequence, Mercury was just a bright crescent in the blackness of space. As MESSENGER drew closer,...

2008-01-13 08:08:24

A NASA spacecraft has a date with Mercury next week for a flyby that will return the first detailed views of the small planet in more than 30 years. The MESSENGER probe will skim just 124 miles (200 km) above Mercury's uncharted hemisphere during its closest pass at 2:04 p.m. EST (1904 GMT) on Monday, marking the first of ultimately three flybys to bleed off speed and enter orbit around the planet. "Our spacecraft is lined up and ready to go," said Marilyn Lindstrom, NASA's...

2008-01-11 15:20:00

NASA will return to Mercury for the first time in almost 33 years on January 14, 2008, when the MESSENGER spacecraft makes its first flyby of the Sun's closest neighbor, capturing images of large portions of the planet never before seen. The probe will make its closest approach to Mercury at 2:04 p.m. EST that day, skimming 200 kilometers (124 miles) above its surface. This encounter will provide a critical gravity assist needed to keep the spacecraft on track for its 2011 orbit insertion...

Latest Mercury spacecraft Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:40

The Planet Mercury -- in astronomy, nearest planet to the sun, at a mean distance of 36 million mi (58 million km); its period of revolution is 88 days. Mercury passes through phases similar to those of the moon as it completes each revolution about the sun, although the visible disk varies in size with respect to its distance from the earth. Because its greatest elongation is 28, it is seen only for a short time after sunset or before sunrise. Since observation of Mercury is...

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