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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • MESSENGER Team Celebrates 11th Anniversary of Launch (August 3, 2015)
    Eleven years ago today -- at 2:15:56 am EDT -- NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft was launched aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and after more than 6 1/2 years in transit it became the first spacecraft to orbit the innermost planet in our solar system. [more]

  • MESSENGER Finds Evidence of Ancient Magnetic Field on Mercury (May 7, 2015)
    Mercury's magnetic field, generated by a dynamo process in its outer core, has been in place far longer than previously known, a paper by MESSENGER Participating Scientist Catherine Johnson reports. [more]

  • NASA Completes MESSENGER Mission with Expected Impact on Mercury's Surface (April 30, 2015)
    Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., confirmed today that NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft impacted the surface of Mercury, as predicted, at 3:26 p.m. EDT this afternoon (3:34 p.m. ground time). [more]

  • Mercury Crater-Naming Contest Winners Announced (April 29, 2015)
    The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach Team, coordinated through the Carnegie Institution for Science, announces the winning names from its competition to name five impact craters on Mercury: Carolan, Enheduanna, Karsh, Kulthum, and Rivera. [more]

  • MESSENGER Executes Last Orbit-Correction Maneuver, Prepares for Impact (April 25, 2015)
    MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., conducted the last of six planned maneuvers on April 24 to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently to extend orbital operations and further delay the probe's inevitable impact onto Mercury's surface. [more]

  • NASA Celebrates MESSENGER Mission Prior to Surface Impact of Mercury (April 16, 2015)
    NASA's highly successful MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft is coming to the end of its operations. Mission engineers predict that the probe -- out of fuel and under gravity's spell -- will impact Mercury on April 30 at more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 kilometers per second). [more]

  • Nothing but Helium: Correction Maneuver Puts MESSENGER Right on Course (April 9, 2015)
    The MESSENGER team is pulling out all the stops to give the spacecraft life far beyond its original design. On April 8, mission operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., successfully conducted a contingency orbit-correction maneuver (OCM-15a), to supplement the April 6 burn (OCM-15) that concluded early when the last drops of hydrazine fuel were expended. [more]

  • Latest Maneuver Illustrates Critical Role Telecommunications System Plays in Delaying MESSENGER's Mercury Impact (April 7, 2015)
    MESSENGER's orbit-correction maneuver on April 6 was a nail biter. It was the 15th such maneuver since the spacecraft entered orbit about Mercury in 2011, and the third in a series of increasingly risky "burns" designed to delay MESSENGER's inevitable impact onto Mercury's surface. Each maneuver illustrates the critical role that the spacecraft's radio frequency (RF) telecommunications system plays in its operation. [more]

  • Planned Maneuver Further Extends MESSENGER Orbital Operations (April 3, 2015)
    MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., conducted a maneuver yesterday to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently to extend orbital operations and further delay the probe's inevitable impact onto Mercury's surface. [more]

  • MESSENGER Completes 4,000th Orbit of Mercury (March 27, 2015)
    On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. [more]

  • 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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