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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • One Hundred Days until Mercury Orbit Insertion (December 7, 2010)
    One hundred days from now, MESSENGER will execute a 15-minute maneuver that will place the spacecraft into orbit about Mercury, making it the first craft ever to do so, and initiating a one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. It has already been 14 years since this mission was first proposed to NASA, more than 10 years since the project officially began, and over six years since the spacecraft was launched. [more]

  • Smithsonian, SAE International Honor Papers Published by MESSENGER Team Members (October 27, 2010)
    The Smithsonian Institution and SAE International (formerly the Society for Automotive Engineers) have honored papers published by scientists on the MESSENGER team. [more]

  • MESSENGER Team Completes Two-Week Orbital Flight Test (September 3, 2010)
    The MESSENGER team has just wrapped up a two-week flight test to ensure that the Mercury-bound spacecraft is ready for orbital operations. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft to enter into orbit about Mercury, embarking on a year-long mission to study in depth the planet closest to the Sun. The completion of this recent test provides a high-fidelity verification of the tools, processes, and procedures that are needed to conduct flight operations at Mercury. [more]

  • Vulcanoid Search Continues as MESSENGER Reaches Orbital Perihelion (August 17, 2010)
    Today MESSENGER will pass within 0.308 astronomical units (AU) of the Sun (one AU is Earth’s distance from the Sun, approximately 150 million kilometers or 93 million miles), providing MESSENGER scientists with another opportunity to search for vulcanoids. Named after the hypothetical planet Vulcan, whose existence was disproven in 1915, vulcanoids are asteroids that orbit the Sun inside the orbit of the planet Mercury. [more]

  • AGU Selects MESSENGER Paper as Eos Research Spotlight (July 20, 2010)
    The American Geophysical Union has selected a research paper detailing observations of Mercury’s magnetosphere during the probe’s third flyby as a “Research Highlight” in today’s issue of Eos, the AGU’s weekly online and print newspaper. [more]

  • MESSENGER Reveals New Information about Mercury’s Exosphere, Volcanism, and Magnetic Substorms (July 15, 2010)
    Analysis of data from MESSENGER’s third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009 has revealed the first observations of emission from an ionized species in Mercury’s exosphere, new information about magnetic substorms, and evidence of younger volcanism on the innermost planet than previously recognized. The results are reported in three papers published online on July 15 in the Science Express section of the website of Science magazine. [more]

  • MESSENGER Thermal Engineer and Co-Investigator Receive Honors (May 21, 2010)
    Two members of the MESSENGER team have been honored by their peers. Carl Jack Ercol, the man largely responsible for ensuring that MESSENGER can withstand solar radiation up to 11 times greater than at Earth as it orbits the planet closest to the Sun, has received the 2008 SAE Arch T. Colwell Merit Award. Independently, MESSENGER Co-Investigator James W. Head, III, was awarded the Runcorn-Florensky Medal by the European Geosciences Union (EGU) at their General Assembly earlier this month. [more]

  • MESSENGER Co-Investigator Receives NASA's Distinguished Service Medal (May 11, 2010)
    Jack Trombka, a MESSENGER Co-Investigator and member of the Science Team’s Geochemistry Group, was recently awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, NASA’s highest honor. The award is granted only to individuals whose distinguished accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA mission. [more]

  • MESSENGER Team Rehearsing for Mercury Orbital Operations (April 13, 2010)
    It’s not easy practicing for something no one has done before, but the MESSENGER team is giving it a go. Mission and science operators have wrapped up the third and fourth in a series of rehearsals for how the spacecraft will be operated once it is in orbit about Mercury. [more]

  • One Year until Mercury Orbit Insertion (March 18, 2010)
    One year from today — starting at 12:45 a.m. UTC — MESSENGER will transition from orbiting the Sun to being the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. [more]

  • Ten Craters on Mercury Receive New Names (March 16, 2010)
    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to confer names on 10 impact craters on Mercury. The newly named craters were imaged during the mission’s three flybys of Mercury in January and October 2008 and September 2009. [more]

  • MESSENGER's Odometer Reading: Four Billion Miles! (February 27, 2010)
    Today the MESSENGER spacecraft crossed the four-billion-mile mark since its launch. The probe has completed about 81 percent of its journey toward its destination to be the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. [more]

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