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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • MESSENGER Completes Its 3,000th Orbit of Mercury, Sets Mark for Closest Approach (April 21, 2014)
    On April 20, MESSENGER completed its 3,000th orbit of Mercury and moved closer to the planet than any spacecraft has been before, dropping to an altitude of 199 kilometers (123.7 miles) above the planet's surface. [more]

  • Team Celebrates Orbital Anniversary, Reports on New Findings at Planetary Conference (March 17, 2014)
    Today, the MESSENGER team celebrates the third anniversary of the probe's Mercury orbit insertion. On March 17, 2011 (Eastern Daylight Time), the spacecraft made history when it became the first probe to orbit the innermost planet. Over the last three years, MESSENGER instruments have fully mapped Mercury's surface and yielded discoveries that have changed views on how the inner planets formed and evolved. [more]

  • Mercury's Contraction Much Greater Than Thought (March 16, 2014)
    New global imaging and topographic data from MESSENGER show that the innermost planet has contracted far more than previous estimates. The results are based on a global study of more than 5,900 geological landforms, such as curving cliff-like scarps and wrinkle ridges, that have resulted from the planet's contraction as Mercury cooled. The findings, published online today in Nature Geoscience, are key to understanding the planet's thermal, tectonic, and volcanic history, and the structure of its unusually large metallic core. [more]

  • Eleventh MESSENGER Planetary Data System Release Is the Largest Yet (March 7, 2014)
    The Planetary Data System (PDS), which archives and distributes data from all of NASA's planetary missions, today released its eleventh batch of data collected by the MESSENGER mission. With this release, images and measurements are now available to the public for the fifth full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations. [more]

  • MESSENGER Team Receives Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering (March 5, 2014)
    The National Space Society has selected NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission as the 2014 recipient of the Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category. "With this award, NSS recognizes both the importance of the first dedicated probe to orbit Mercury and the significance of the scientific results already released," the organization said in announcing the award. [more]

  • MESSENGER Surpasses 200,000 Orbital Images of Mercury (February 6, 2014)
    MESSENGER has now returned more than 200,000 images acquired from orbit about Mercury. The 1996 proposal for the mission promised a return of at least 1,000 images says Robert Gold, MESSENGER's Science Payload Manager. "We expected then that we would have some data compression that would probably raise the image total to somewhere near 2,000 images," says Gold, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), but scientists did not imagine then the degree to which MESSENGER would surpass that goal. [more]



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