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MESSENGER Mission News
July 2, 2008
|NASA will host a media teleconference Thursday, July 3, at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss analysis of data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft's flyby of Mercury earlier this year.
The spacecraft is the first designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. It flew past Mercury on Jan. 14, 2008, and made the first up-close measurements since Mariner 10's final flyby in 1975.
Analyses of the data show volcanoes were involved in the formation of plains. The data also suggest the planet's magnetic field is actively produced in its core. In addition, the mission has provided the first look at the chemical composition of Mercury's surface. The results will be reported in a series of 11 papers published July 4 in a special section of Science magazine.
The teleconference participants are:
- Marilyn Lindstrom, program scientist, NASA Headquarters
- Sean Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington
- James W. Head III, professor of geological sciences, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
- William McClintock, senior research associate, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder
- Thomas H. Zurbuchen, associate professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Reporters may access the embargoed science press package materials by registering with EurekAlert! at www.eurekalert.org and e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to expedite their registration. Once registered, they may log in directly at: http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci/.
To participate in the teleconference, reporters in the United States should call 1-888-455-3616 and use the passcode "messenger." International reporters should call 1-517-623-4705. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:
When the briefing begins, related images will be available at:
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 after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. 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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