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MESSENGER Departing Earth
Artist's impression of the MErcury
Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER)
spacecraft as it leaves Earth, following its Aug.
3, 2004 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. aboard
a Delta II rocket. The spacecraft will fly past Earth once, Venus
twice and Mercury three times before starting a yearlong orbital
study of the innermost planet in March 2011.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of