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MESSENGER Mission News
December 16, 2011
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

MESSENGER Among Discover Magazine's Top 100 Stories of 2011
Discover magazine has named the MESSENGER mission one of the top 100 stories of 2011. "The 100 stories here capture scientific curiosity in all its stages: provocative early results, long-sought confirmation, and many steps in the iterative process of testing theory against observation and vice versa," wrote Discover Editor-in-Chief Corey Powell in the Editor's Note for the January/February 2012 issue of the magazine.

MESSENGER came in at 25 among the 100. This honor caps off a year of accomplishment for the spacecraft, which entered orbit around Mercury on March 18, 2011, and has since sent back images and other data that have transformed our scientific understanding of the planet closest to the Sun.

The magazine's article on MESSENGER, entitled "Mercury's New Face," was written by noted author Dava Sobel. Sobel was among the visitors to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., on the occasion of Mercury orbit insertion, and she wrote her story as a first-hand account of that evening.

"The MESSENGER team is honored to be recognized by Discover magazine for our spacecraft's amazing year," says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "It was particularly special that Discover assigned a writer with the story-telling ability of Dava Sobel to cast the mission's challenges and opportunities in compelling terms. With NASA's recent approval of a MESSENGER Extended Mission, we can look forward to another year of scientific surprises at Mercury."

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.

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