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of the innermost planet
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Mercury Flyby 1


On January 14, 2008, more than three decades after the third Mariner 10 flyby, the last spacecraft visit of Mercury, MESSENGER passed 200 kilometers above Mercury's surface. Extensive scient ific observations were executed during this flyby encounter, including imaging a large portion of Mercury's surface that had never before been seen by a spacecraft. Listen to Principal Investigator Sean Solomon discuss the importance of this historic flyby of Mercury during a Planetary Radio show.


July 3, 2008, 2 pm EDT:
MESSENGER at Mercury
A NASA Media Teleconference

January 30, 2008, 1 pm EST:
NASA Press Conference with Flyby Results

January 14, 2008, 7 pm EST:
Public Talk at APL: "Exploring Mercury: The Iron Planet" by Prof. Robert G.Strom, University of Arizona

January 14, 2008, 2:04:39 pm EST:
MESSENGER's Closest Approach to Mercury

January 10, 2008, 1 pm EST:
NASA Media Telecon Previewing the Flyby

Visualization Tool
visualization tool thumbnail

Use this Mercury Flyby 1 Visualization Tool to see simulated or actual views of the instrument observations executed during the flyby.

mercury flyby animation

Watch an animation (10.4 MB or 84.2 MB) of MESSENGER's flyby of Mercury that shows the specific instrument operations executed during the encounter.

Images and Data from the Flyby
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View images, data and movies acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft during its flyby of Mercury. Check back often to see the latest releases!

Impressions from the Team

Read entries written by MESSENGER team members about their personal reactions to this historic flyby of Mercury.


Closest Approach Trajectory Highlights

See three views of the spacecraft trajectory near closest approach to the planet, as well as summary details of the spacecraft’s location when closest to the planet and the gravity-assist boost imparted to the spacecraft via the flyby.

First Mercury flyby closest approach details:

Date and time: January 14, 2008, 19:04:39 UTC
Spacecraft distance to planet center: 2641.1 km
Altitude: 201.7 km
Sub-spacecraft surface latitude, longitude: 4.521° S, 37.730° E
Spacecraft velocity with respect to planet center: 7.097 km/s
Effective gravity-assist velocity change from flyby: 2.304 km/s

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