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MESSENGER News Archive

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  • MESSENGER Team Members Honored for Outstanding Accomplishments in Scientific Research and Education and Public Outreach (December 31, 2013)
    Three members of the MESSENGER team have been honored this month for their accomplishments in planetary research and education and public outreach. The three honorees are Catherine Johnson from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Planetary Science Institute, Ryan Dewey from the University of Colorado, and Brian Grigsby from Shasta High School in Redding, California. [more]

  • Beatles Legend, Antiwar Author among Those Honored by Newly Named Mercury Craters (December 19, 2013)
    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) -- the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 -- recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to 10 impact craters on Mercury. [more]

  • MESSENGER Celebrates 1,000 Earth Days in Orbit around Mercury (December 11, 2013)
    Later today, the MESSENGER spacecraft will have completed 1,000 Earth days of flight operations in orbit around Mercury. "This milestone is a testament to the outstanding work of those who designed, tested, and operated this spacecraft," says Jim McAdams of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the lead engineer for MESSENGER's mission design team. [more]

  • MESSENGER Team Presents Latest Mercury Findings at AGU Fall Meeting (December 9, 2013)
    Members of the MESSENGER team will present a broad range of findings from the spacecraft's orbital investigation of Mercury during the 2013 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), which takes place this week, December 9-13, in San Francisco. In 33 oral and poster presentations, team scientists will report on the analysis and interpretation of observations made by MESSENGER's instruments in the 2.5 years since the spacecraft entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011. [more]

  • A Tale of Two Comets: MESSENGER Captures Images of Encke and ISON (November 25, 2013)
    On November 18, NASA's Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft pointed its Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) at 2P/Encke and captured this image of the comet as it sped within 2.3 million miles (3.7 million kilometers) of Mercury's surface. The next day, the probe captured this companion image of C/2012 S1 (ISON), as it cruised by Mercury at a distance of 22.5 million miles (36.2 million kilometers) on its way to its late-November closest approach to the Sun. [more]

  • MESSENGER Detects Comets ISON and Encke, Prepares for Closer Encounters (November 14, 2013)
    NASA's Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft has captured images of two comets -- 2P/Encke and C/2012 S1 (ISON) -- setting the stage for observations later this month when both comets will be substantially brighter and much closer to Mercury and the Sun. [more]

  • 1,000th Featured Image from MESSENGER Posted on the Project's Web Gallery (September 10, 2013)
    The MESSENGER project is celebrating the posting today of the 1,000th featured image from Mercury. The Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) team has posted a new image to the MESSENGER website approximately once per business day since March 29, 2011, when the first image obtained from orbit about the innermost planet was made public. [more]

  • Planetary Data System Releases MESSENGER Data from Fourth Mercury Solar Day (September 6, 2013)
    Data collected during MESSENGER's 19th through 24th month in orbit around Mercury were released to the public today by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all of NASA's planetary mission data. With this release, data are now available to the public through the fourth full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations. [more]

  • MESSENGER to Capture Images of Earth and Moon During Search for Satellites of Mercury (July 18, 2013)
    NASA's Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft will capture images of Earth on July 19 and 20. The images will be taken at 7:49 a.m., 8:38 a.m. and 9:41 a.m. EDT on both days. Nearly half of the Earth, including all the Americas, Africa, and Europe, will be illuminated and facing MESSENGER, according to Hari Nair, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory planetary scientist who designed and is implementing the campaign. The images on the second day will also include pictures of the Moon, where all six of the Apollo landing sites will be illuminated, 44 years to the day after Apollo 11 landed on the Moon's rocky surface. [more]

  • International Astronomical Union Approves Ten New Names for Mercury Craters (June 21, 2013)
    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) -- the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 -- recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to 10 impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities. [more]

  • IAU Approves New Names for Ten Major Fault Scarps on Mercury (June 7, 2013)
    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to 10 rupes, the long cliff-like escarpments that formed over major faults along which one large block of crust on Mercury was thrust up and over another. The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping with the established naming theme for rupes on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after ships of discovery. [more]

  • MESSENGER Completes Its 2,000th Orbit of Mercury, Provides Data on Solar Magnetic Field (May 24, 2013)
    MESSENGER began its 2,000th orbit around Mercury earlier this week, on May 22. The spacecraft completed its primary mission on March 17, 2012, and its first extended mission on March 17, 2013. The team is awaiting word from NASA on a proposal for a second extended mission. In the meantime, instruments aboard the spacecraft continue to gather new data on Mercury and its environment. [more]

  • Newly Named Mercury Craters Honor Hawaiian Guitarist, Beloved Young Adult Author (March 26, 2013)
    The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 — recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities. [more]

  • MESSENGER Completes Its First Extended Mission at Mercury (March 18, 2013)
    On March 17, 2013, MESSENGER successfully completed its year-long first extended mission in orbit about Mercury, building on the groundbreaking scientific results from its earlier primary mission. Today the team is poised to embark on a second extended mission that promises to provide new observations of Mercury's surface and interior at unprecedented spatial resolution and of the planet's dynamic magnetosphere and exosphere at high time resolution during the peak and declining phase of the current solar cycle. [more]

  • Planetary Data System Releases MESSENGER Data from Third Mercury Solar Day (March 8, 2013)
    The Planetary Data System (PDS), which archives and distributes data from all of NASA's planetary missions, today released data collected during MESSENGER's thirteenth through eighteenth month in orbit around Mercury. With this release, images and measurements are now available to the public for the third full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations. [more]

  • MESSENGER's Discoveries Tapped as among Top Space Stories of 2012 (January 4, 2013)
    In 2012, the MESSENGER mission to Mercury completed its primary mission, embarked on an extended mission, saw its images and maps featured on a highly rated television show, sponsored the release of a dedicated app, and celebrated the 8th anniversary of its launch, all the while continuing to produce new findings about the planet closest to the Sun. [more]



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