A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
NASA logo carnegie institution logo JHU APL logo

Why Mercury?
The Mission
Gallery
Education
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
FAQs
Related Links
Contacts
Home


Download iPhone/iPad app Information about Mercury Flybys Question and Answer Mercury Orbit Insertion Where is MESSENGER? Where is Mercury now? Subscribe to MESSENGER eNews


The Mission

To become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury. This impressive journey yielded the first return of new spacecraft data from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago. Here you can find details about that journey, the MESSENGER spacecraft, and the instrument payload.

MESSENGER's First Year Orbit at Mercury



MESSENGER's orbit about Mercury is highly eccentric; its lowest point above the surface is 200 kilometers (124 miles) and the highest point is more than 15,000 kilometers (9,300 miles). Click on primary or extended to learn more about MESSENGER's orbit during the primary and extended mission phases.

MESSENGER's Extended Mission Orbit at Mercury



Mission Timeline

View an interactive timeline of the MESSENGER mission. The timeline features graphics, animations, and closest approach facts for launch, all six planetary flybys, and Mercury orbit insertion.


Mission Design

Learn about how MESSENGER utilizes events such as planetary flybys and trajectory correction maneuvers to enter an orbit around Mercury, the fastest planet in our solar system.


Spacecraft

Learn about the details of the spacecraft and how the spacecraft systems are designed to address the challenges of becoming the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.


Instruments

Find details about MESSENGER's science payload, which includes seven scientific instruments and a radio science experiment, all designed to operate in the extreme environment near the Sun.


planetary flybys

Access webpages created specifically for MESSENGER's planetary flybys.


Publications

View a list of professional publications, which contain details about the technical aspects of the spacecraft, the instruments, and designing and operating the MESSENGER mission.


 


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2014 by JHU/APL