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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • MESSENGER's Endgame: Hover Campaign Promises Bird's-Eye View of Mercury's Surface (March 18, 2015)
    MESSENGER will not go gentle into that good night. The mission will end sometime this spring, when the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury. But the team initiated a "hover" observation campaign designed to gather scientific data from the planet at ultra-low altitudes until the last possible moment. Engineers have devised a series of orbit-correction maneuvers (OCMs) over the next five weeks -- the first of which was carried out today -- designed to delay the inevitable impact a bit longer. [more]

  • With the End in Sight, the MESSENGER Team Celebrates Fourth Orbital Anniversary (March 17, 2015)
    Today, the MESSENGER team celebrates the fourth anniversary of the spacecraft's Mercury orbit insertion. On the evening of March 17, 2011 (EDT), the spacecraft made history when it became the first to orbit the innermost planet. Over the last four years, its instruments have fully mapped Mercury's surface and yielded discoveries that have changed views on how the inner planets formed and evolved. [more]

  • Scientists Discuss New Results from MESSENGER's Low-Altitude Campaign (March 16, 2015)
    The Woodlands, Texas -- NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission, now nearing the end of its fourth and final year of orbital operations at Mercury, is well into a low-altitude campaign that is returning images and measurements of the planet's surface and interior that are unprecedented in their resolution. MESSENGER scientists will discuss new findings from the low-altitude campaign and their implications for Mercury's geological evolution and the planet's geophysical and geochemical characteristics at a press briefing today at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Presentation materials and presenter biographies are available online. [more]

  • New MESSENGER Maps of Mercury's Surface Chemistry Provide Clues to the Planet's History (March 13, 2015)
    Two new papers from members of the MESSENGER Science Team provide global-scale maps of Mercury's surface chemistry that reveal previously unrecognized geochemical terranes -- large regions that have compositions distinct from their surroundings. The presence of these large terranes has important implications for the history of the planet. [more]

  • Latest MESSENGER Data Delivery Includes New Targeted Mosaics of Mercury (March 6, 2015)
    NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS) today released data collected from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission during its 37th through 42nd months in orbit about Mercury. [more]

  • Maneuver Successfully Delays MESSENGER's Impact, Extends Orbital Operations (January 21, 2015)
    MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., successfully conducted a maneuver today designed to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently to extend orbital operations and delay the probe's inevitable impact onto Mercury's surface until early spring. [more]

  • Last Chance: Mercury Crater-Naming Contest Ends January 15 (January 13, 2015)
    The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Team is reminding interested parties that the competition to name five impact craters on Mercury closes on January 15, 2015. The contest, open to everyone except members of the mission's EPO team, was launched on December 15, 2014. [more]

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