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Under Wraps

Engineers wrap the MESSENGER spacecraft in protective film before lifting it out of the thermal-vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on Feb. 26. The spacecraft endured five weeks of rigorous environmental tests in the chamber, including some where engineers baked the sunshade to about 350 degrees Celsius (about 660 degrees Fahrenheit). MESSENGER showed it could withstand the wide range of hot and cold temperatures it will face on its journey to and mission around Mercury.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington


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