Latest Mercury spacecraft Stories
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, headed toward the first study of Mercury from orbit, swung by Earth today for a gravity assist that propelled it deeper into the inner solar system.
NASA's Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft -- less than three months from an Earth flyby that will slingshot it toward the inner solar system -- successfully tested its main camera by snapping distant approach shots of Earth and the Moon.
MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury, and the first NASA mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on Aug. 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011.
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...