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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