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Date: October 1, 2008, at 1 p.m. EST


NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) is the first mission sent to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. On October 6, 2008, MESSENGER will fly by Mercury for the second time this year. During the encounter, the probe will swing just 125 miles (200 kilometers) above the cratered surface of Mercury, snapping 1,278 pictures and collecting a variety of other data from the planet as it gains a critical gravity assist that keeps the probe on track to become the first spacecraft ever to orbit the innermost planet beginning in March 2011.


- Marilyn M. Lindstrom, MESSENGER Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington
- Daniel J. O’Shaughnessy, Lead for MESSENGER’s Guidance and Control subsystem, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
- Scott L. Murchie, MESSENGER Co-Investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
- Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington


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Contact Information:

Paulette Campbell
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Laurel, Maryland
Phone: 240.228.6792

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters Washington, DC
Phone: 202.358.1726/3895

Tina McDowell
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Washington, DC
Phone: 202.939.1120

Event Information:

The NASA MESSENGER Media teleconference will take place on Wednesday, October 1, 2008, at 1 p.m. EDT. To participate in the teleconference, reporters in the United States should call 1-888-324-6998 and use the passcode "Mercury". International reporters should call 1-210-234-0009. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.

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