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Robotic Spacecraft (Astronomy, Planetary, Earth, Solar/Heliophysics) => Space Science Coverage => Topic started by: jacqmans on 01/07/2008 06:49 pm

Title: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 01/07/2008 06:49 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-03

NASA TELECONFERENCE TO PREVIEW MESSENGER'S FLYBY OF MERCURY

WASHINGTON - NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST on
Thursday, Jan. 10, to preview the historic Jan. 14 spacecraft flight
past Mercury that will explore some of the last major
never-seen-before terrain in the inner solar system.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging
(MESSENGER) is the first mission sent to orbit the planet closest to
the sun. It will use Mercury's gravity for a critical assist needed
to keep the spacecraft on track for its orbit insertion around the
planet three years from now. During this month's Mercury pass the
probe's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments
will take unprecedented images and make the first up-close
measurements of the planet since Mariner 10's third and final flyby
on March 16, 1975. The flyby also will gather essential data for
planning the overall mission. MESSENGER was launched on Aug. 3, 2004.
After flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury, it will start a year-long
orbital study of Mercury in March 2011.

Briefing participants:
- Marilyn Lindstrom, MESSENGER program scientist, NASA Headquarters,
Washington
- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie Institution
of Washington
- Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
- Faith Vilas, MESSENGER participating scientist and director, MMT
Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Ariz.

To participate in the teleconference, reporters should call
1-888-398-6118 and use the pass code "Mercury." International
journalists should call 1-210-234-0013. Audio of the teleconference
also will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

Related images about the MESSENGER mission and flyby will be available
on the Web at:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 01/10/2008 05:04 pm
RELEASE: 08-003

NASA SPACECRAFT TO MAKE HISTORIC FLYBY OF MERCURY

LAUREL, Md. - On Monday, Jan. 14, a pioneering NASA spacecraft will be
the first to visit Mercury in almost 33 years when it soars over the
planet to explore and snap close-up images of never-before-seen
terrain. These findings could open new theories and answer old
questions in the study of the solar system.

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft, called MESSENGER, is the first mission sent to orbit the
planet closest to our sun. Before that orbit begins in 2011, the
probe will make three flights past the small planet, skimming as
close as 124 miles above Mercury's cratered, rocky surface.
MESSENGER's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology
instruments will collect more than 1,200 images and make other
observations during this approach, encounter and departure. It will
make the first up-close measurements since Mariner 10 spacecraft's
third and final flyby on March 16, 1975. When Mariner 10 flew by
Mercury in the mid-1970s, it surveyed only one hemisphere.

"This is raw scientific exploration and the suspense is building by
the day," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate, Washington. "What will MESSENGER see? Monday
will tell the tale."

This encounter will provide a critical gravity assist needed to keep
the spacecraft on track for its March 2011 orbit insertion, beginning
an unprecedented yearlong study of Mercury. The flyby also will
gather essential data for mission planning.

"During this flyby we will begin to image the hemisphere that has
never been seen by a spacecraft and Mercury at resolutions better
than those acquired by Mariner 10," said Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER
principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington. "Images
will be in a number of different color filters so that we can start
to get an idea of the composition of the surface."

One site of great interest is the Caloris basin, an impact crater
about 800 miles in diameter, which is one of the largest impact
basins in the solar system.

"Caloris is huge, about a quarter of the diameter of Mercury, with
rings of mountains within it that are up to two miles high," said
Louise Prockter, the instrument scientist for the Mercury Dual
Imaging System at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory in Laurel. "Mariner 10 saw a little less than half of the
basin. During this first flyby, we will image the other side."

MESSENGER's instruments will provide the first spacecraft measurements
of the mineralogical and chemical composition of Mercury's surface.
It also will study the global magnetic field and improve our
knowledge of the gravity field from the Mariner 10 flyby. The
long-wavelength components of the gravity field provide key
information about the planet's internal structure, particularly the
size of Mercury's core.

The flyby will provide an opportunity to examine Mercury's environment
in unique ways, not possible once the spacecraft begins orbiting the
planet. The flyby also will map Mercury's tenuous atmosphere with
ultraviolet observations and document the energetic particle and
plasma of Mercury's magnetosphere. In addition, the flyby trajectory
will enable unique particle and plasma measurements of the magnetic
tail that sweeps behind Mercury.

Launched Aug. 3, 2004, MESSENGER is slightly more than halfway through
its 4.9-billion mile journey. It already has flown past Earth once
and Venus twice. The spacecraft will use the pull of Mercury's
gravity during this month's pass and others in October 2008 and
September 2009 to guide it progressively closer to the planet's
orbit. Insertion will be accomplished with a fourth Mercury encounter
in 2011.

The MESSENGER project is the seventh in NASA's Discovery Program of
low-cost, scientifically focused space missions. The Applied Physics
Laboratory designed, built and operates the spacecraft and manages
the mission for NASA.

For more information about MESSENGER, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: MESSENGER arriving at Mercury
Post by: eeergo on 01/10/2008 10:48 pm

The first images from MESSENGER have started to arrive. Mercury is still a blurry crescent, but exciting images are ahead :) Time to keep an eye on this page (the mission's main flyby1 site)If there is going to be any kind of live coverage on NASA TV, like MRO's orbit insertion, maybe it would be a good idea to host a live event on the 14th.

There's also a very good article summarizing (but with good detail) the objectives of the mission, this flyby, and a good deal of illustrative images in this Planetary Society article... take a look at that tortuous path to get to Mercury in 2011!

Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Avron on 01/11/2008 03:53 am
Always amazed at the navigation - a flyby of 124 miles  after a 4.9-billion mile journey.. now that is accurate after "bouncing" off a few planets..
Title: RE: MESSENGER arriving at Mercury
Post by: kfsorensen on 01/11/2008 05:42 pm
Quote
eeergo - 10/1/2008  5:48 PM

There's also a very good article summarizing (but with good detail) the objectives of the mission, this flyby, and a good deal of illustrative images in this Planetary Society article... take a look at that tortuous path to get to Mercury in 2011!

This is a very good example of where terrestrial analogies for travel fail us as we try to understand how to get to a place like Mercury.  Mercury is never terribly far away from Earth (1.0 AU +/- 0.4 AU) but it is about as difficult to get to Mercury as it is to get to Pluto.  This is because a spacecraft must shed so much of the 30 km/s-around-the-Sun velocity that they have when they start from Earth.  Using gravity assists from Venus make all the difference in shedding orbital energy, and "dropping" into a progressively lower orbit around the Sun to get to Mercury.  Furthermore, Mercury's orbit is rather tilted relative to the ecliptic plane, and so further gravity assists are needed to "crank the plane" enough to match velocities with Mercury as much as possible so as to minimize the final propulsive maneuver necessary for orbit capture.

It would be very interesting if APL showed the figures for the delta-V that would be needed for orbit capture at each of the Mercury flybys.  For this first one, it would be far beyond the capability of the propulsion system, but the next one will be better, and the final one will be just right.
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: HIPAR on 01/11/2008 10:37 pm

Getting closer  .. Jan 11

"Jan

Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/13/2008 01:24 pm
REALLY close now... you can see surface features already. Just one day to close approach!
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 02:33 pm

We are 3 hours and a half away from closest approach, and this is the last released image, taken at 760000 km from Mercury with a resolution of 20 km/pixel.

There is a great timeline of events here, where you can follow what is happening in these crucial moments.

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 03:13 pm
MESSENGER should be now wrapping up the image-taking process for the Approach Movie. In an hour and a half comes the WAC color and UV imaging, the first of the fast observations around closest approach.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 01/14/2008 04:50 pm
Is any of this flyby being covered live on NASA TV ??....When can we expect to see pictures taken during closest approach ???

Kind of surprised there isn't more live coverage and commentary on this site about this mission...especially at this stage...???
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: lbiderman on 01/14/2008 05:01 pm
This site concentrates more on launch vehicles, and specially human spaceflight. More engineers than scientists.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/14/2008 05:22 pm
Quote
Wildthing - 14/1/2008  11:50 AM

Is any of this flyby being covered live on NASA TV ??....When can we expect to see pictures taken during closest approach ???

Kind of surprised there isn't more live coverage and commentary on this site about this mission...especially at this stage...???

We'll probably see something tomorrow, but I don't expect much.  Messenger has flown by Venus twice and the Earth once during its three-plus year mission so far, but APL has only posted 10 images and a half-dozen movies on its web site, encompassing all of these flybys, to date.  Such hoarding of the type of imaging that the general public would be most interested in is puzzling, especially when NASA science seems in need of a bit of self promotion.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ApolloLee on 01/14/2008 05:23 pm
Just more proof that when you think you know everything about our own neighborhood, we don't.

You realize we're about to see half the surface of a planet we've never seen in our solar system (Mariner only saw half of Mercury). We don;t know what we'll find. Who knows? Maybe a big "Hi, Mom" sign... (j/k)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 05:41 pm
We have passed the first optical and UV imaging sessions, the NAC approach mosaic and right now we are in the middle of another UV spectroscopic imaging. I forgot to say it before, but there's a nice animation to encompass with the actual events in the timeline here: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/movies/M1_Phase_B_final_text_small.mov where it shows graphically what parts of Mercury they're imaging in each stage.

Next event is total eclipse, where closest approach occurs. Following that, once in sunlight again, MESSENGER will perform a laser altimeter observation followed by lots of optical close-by pictures.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: on 01/14/2008 05:49 pm

Quote
edkyle99 - 14/1/2008  12:22 PM  
Quote
Wildthing - 14/1/2008  11:50 AM  Is any of this flyby being covered live on NASA TV ??....When can we expect to see pictures taken during closest approach ???  Kind of surprised there isn't more live coverage and commentary on this site about this mission...especially at this stage...???
 We'll probably see something tomorrow, but I don't expect much.  Messenger has flown by Venus twice and the Earth once during its three-plus year mission so far, but APL has only posted 10 images and a half-dozen movies on its web site, encompassing all of these flybys, to date.  Such hoarding of the type of imaging that the general public would be most interested in is puzzling, especially when NASA science seems in need of a bit of self promotion.   - Ed Kyle

Far cry from the circus that accompanied each of the flybys of the 70's. Combined lack of interest from the public, and downplaying of anything not VSE/manned exploration. The funds for web communication are tiny, and even thats not present even in a minimal way.

As to science hoarding, look at the difference between Huygens and Cassini - ESA still hasn't released all, and Cassini still is doing real-time releases. This is untypical of JHU APL, but typical of following current political trend. Sure hope this changes by the time we flyby the formerly known as planet Pluto ...

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/14/2008 06:03 pm
Messenger should have passed its nearest approach and have begun to draw away from Mercury now.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:12 pm
In the middle of the laser altimeter ranging. Shown in the picture is this instrument's path:
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:14 pm
Now entering the color photographing phase. Lots of close-by pictures taken in 4 intervals.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:18 pm
Last wide angle camera observations for now, in the marked area. Now coming up in a Narrow Angle Camera Hi-Res imaging session.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: collectSPACE on 01/14/2008 06:19 pm
Quote
edkyle99 - 14/1/2008  12:22 PM

We'll probably see something tomorrow, but I don't expect much...

Imagery from the fly-by won't be uplinked back to Earth until (at least) 22 hours after the pass is over. Photographs will be released on Wednesday.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:22 pm
Correction on the above: the WLC was doing photometry (recognise the surface materials because of the light they reflect), not imaging.

However, the NAC has started working, creating a panorama of a part of Mercury, including unexplored terrain.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/14/2008 06:23 pm
Right now, Messenger is photographing surfaces never imaged before.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:26 pm
One question I do have is why during eclipse (including closest approach) no major observations, if any, were performed. I suppose the spacecraft has batteries! Maybe just because it was too dark to see anything? But at least laser ranging should be useful...Meanwhile, this NAC mosaic is over, and this is the imaged terrain:
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:29 pm
Another short photometry session by the WAC will be followed by the second NAC mosaic in the next few minutes.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:34 pm
NAC imaging the North polar regions (also unexplored terrain) I'm quite certain either the terrain to the left or to the right of the strip wasn't imaged by Mariner 10, and is based on radar observations from Earth. So, although it's 'a bit' explored, it hasn't been actually imaged that close.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 01/14/2008 06:34 pm
Thanks for all the updates...I'm interested in following this, even if not too many other folks are...:)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: stockman on 01/14/2008 06:36 pm
Quote
Wildthing - 14/1/2008  2:34 PM

Thanks for all the updates...I'm interested in following this, even if not too many other folks are...:)

There is probably a lot of interest. Thanks to all posting here. While the primary use for this site is rocket launches, this kind of coverage is also appreciated very much. :)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:39 pm
Quote
Wildthing - 14/1/2008  8:34 PMThanks for all the updates...I'm interested in following this, even if not too many other folks are...:)
A pleasure! I should be studying right now, the exams are close, but integral equations have so little appeal compared to first-of-its-kind Solar System exploration... :)NAC observations more than halfway completed, after that will be a WAC departure color imaging session.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:43 pm
The resolution of the NAC images ranges from 115 and 300 meters for the last inteval, which is quite decent indeed! Coming up on the WAC departure color mosaic.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 06:48 pm
WAC working hard now. There's one hour's worth of observation left in this flyby, including 4 NAC departure mosaics and a short session of WAC mosaic imaging in between. After the last NAC session is performed, and for the next several hours, MESSENGER will take a (expectedly very cool) departure movie, until tomorrow's evening.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/14/2008 08:52 pm
I answer myself to my previous question: I wondered why the team hadn't planned any observations during eclipse, but they actually had (only the timeline didn't reflect it), according to the planned events sequence posted in the Planetary Society's site. They did laser altimeter measurements.

Also, the section to the left of the uncharted territory (the light band in the visualization) is the one imaged from Arecibo, by radar, but not by Mariner.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/14/2008 09:52 pm
FWIW, long-dead Mariner 10 is believed to be in a solar orbit that brings it close to Mercury every few (probably six) months.  

- Ed Kyle
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: rvastro on 01/15/2008 12:20 am
Planetary scientists are going to have a field day presenting the images. As an amatuer astronomer--I cannot wait!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Lampyridae on 01/15/2008 01:44 am
Quite exciting. It's going to be really cool, seeing the blanks in the terrain filled in! But I suppose all the really big science questions will be answered in 2011...
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: simonbp on 01/15/2008 02:34 pm
Quote
Lampyridae - 14/1/2008  7:44 PM

Quite exciting. It's going to be really cool, seeing the blanks in the terrain filled in! But I suppose all the really big science questions will be answered in 2011...

Not necessarily, the close-approach images are high enough resolution to show far more detail than Mariner 10, and there should be some completely new data from the spectrometers and magnetometer...

Simon ;)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 01/15/2008 04:12 pm
Messenger video on NASA TV now
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/16/2008 12:25 pm

There's an approach movie posted in MESSENGER's site now (although it's only a composition of the images already posted, as far as I can see...) and, most important of all, a quite big image (though not extremely hig-res) of Mercury's uncharted territories! :)

Definetely a must-see:

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Jeff Lerner on 01/16/2008 01:05 pm
wow..great picture !!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: dwmzmm on 01/16/2008 02:20 pm
Quote
Wildthing - 16/1/2008  8:05 AM

wow..great picture !!

Bear's some resemblance to our own moon....
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jabe on 01/16/2008 02:37 pm
Quote
dwmzmm - 16/1/2008  10:20 AM

Bear's some resemblance to our own moon....

they do a great comparison of the Mercury pic and a Moon pic at the Planetary Society blog (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001299/).  Well worth a read!!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: wannamoonbase on 01/16/2008 02:42 pm
Great stuff.  Love it.  So much better than the mosaic images from Mariner.  Really excited about getting the rest of the data in the coming days as well as the next two fly bys.

Great work Messenger team.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Lawntonlookirs on 01/16/2008 03:12 pm
Very interesting information.  I also am awaiting to see some more pictures.
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/16/2008 08:23 pm

Now a close-up image: the Vivaldi crater, near the terminator. I suppose they're analyzing tons of data and don't have much spare time, but they're releasing the images too little by little...

EDIT: Oh, ok, now I read the Planetary Society blog you linked above and it seems they don't have much antenna time to download their data, because of a slight problem Ulysses had yesterday and required the 70m antennas to be directed to it...

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Lampyridae on 01/17/2008 01:21 am
Reminds me of Ganymede and Callisto, with those white rays from the impact craters. Of course, there must be a totally different geology at work here. I've never studied Mercury in much detail, but I don't recall seeing many of these kind of craters in the explored regions. Perhaps they are relatively fresh impacts? But some darker craters sit on the rays. Maybe those impacts spewed a pocket of different material. No evidence of marae regions on this side at all.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/17/2008 08:43 pm

Six new images have been released (they're picking up the pace :) ) and all of them are hugely interesting, with some close-ups of previously unseen areas. The geology is very varied, with lots of cliffs, new and old craters, filled and empty, partially destroyed or intact. And there's an oblique horizon view which is totally breathtaking! I'll attach that one for today.

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: stockman on 01/17/2008 08:53 pm
Wow... almost looks like two river channels inside the big crater in the lower right corner! I assume they are stress cracks but they certainly have a liquid flow look to them. Beautiful view! :)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Lawntonlookirs on 01/18/2008 02:53 pm
I don't have to check all of the links so really appreciate all of the date.  Keep posting them.  Great pictures.  Can't wait until additional pictures are shown.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ApolloLee on 01/18/2008 03:49 pm
Isn't it something that we're still seeing things no human eye has seen before?
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/18/2008 04:44 pm

Another two images have been released today and the team informs all the flyby data has successfully been returned to Earth. Apparantly, "there are already indications that new discoveries are at hand".

For today, this approach image which shows a shadowed Mercury, and the one below the still-iluminated crater and mountain summits in Vivaldi (the last one is from the 16th, but I decided today it was too nice to leave it unposted :) ). However, I strongly recommend you to check them all in the site, because every single one of them is worth a good look, even though some are less spectacular.

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: braddock on 01/18/2008 06:04 pm
Are these images natural color, or grayscale?
What color is Mercury?
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/18/2008 06:43 pm
Most of the images available are from the NAC, which only does grayscale. However, the two most recent approach images are from the WAC, which does color, although the ones released were taken through only a filter (filter 10, 750 nm (far red-near infrared)), which makes them equally grayscale. What I don't know is if this flyby was supposed to use all WAC's filters or just one, but I'm pretty certain some color images will appear when they analyze all the data and have time to merge different filters. I base my suspicions on the timeline I was looking at during closest approach: they talk about color imaging and photometry.

I'm not really sure what color Mercury is... we usually see it looking pretty much the same color as the Moon, but going through some images I found some showing a reddish-brown tone from Mariner 10, the best of which is in Wikipedia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Mercury_Mariner10.jpg I hope we get much better views from MESSENGER soon though :)
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/20/2008 03:02 pm

The latest update features the first results from the laser range altimeter and the first image taken after closest approach:

Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 01/22/2008 08:47 pm

Mercury's first color image has been released!! And along with it a cute spectroscopy analysis, that while being very preliminary, shows what could already be seen in the other image and in Mariner's: Mercury is predominantly red (those areas which have been exposed to space weather longer) with blue patches (recently cratered places)

Previously, they have also posted some B&W images, one of them from the South Pole! Below is the star of the party: Mercury in color.

Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: edkyle99 on 01/23/2008 08:49 pm
Keep in mind that "MESSENGER’s eyes can see far beyond the color range of the human eye, and the colors seen in the accompanying image are somewhat different from what a human would see."

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=132

I'm pretty sure that the color Mariner 10 images most commonly seen are in false-color also.  I don't know if I've ever seen a "true color" image.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 01/28/2008 07:05 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-019

NASA TO RELEASE SCIENCE RESULTS AND NEW IMAGES FROM MERCURY FLYBY

WASHINGTON - NASA will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. EST on
Wednesday, Jan. 30, to announce scientific findings and release
never-before-seen images of Mercury. The images were taken during a
NASA spacecraft's January flyby of the planet. The briefing will take
place in the NASA Headquarters' James E. Webb Auditorium, 300 E
Street, S.W., Washington, and will be carried live on NASA
Television.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging
(Messenger) spacecraft is the first mission sent to orbit the planet
closest to our sun. After a journey of more than 2 billion miles, the
spacecraft made its first flyby of Mercury on Jan. 14. The
spacecraft's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology
instruments collected more than 1,200 images and made other
observations. Data included the first up-close measurements of
Mercury since the Mariner 10 spacecraft's third and final flyby on
March 16, 1975.

Participants in the press conference will be:
- James Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA
Headquarters, Washington
- Sean Solomon, Mesenger principal investigator; director, Department
of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington
- Maria Zuber, Messenger science team member; head, Department of
Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge
- Robert Strom, Messenger science team member; professor emeritus,
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson
- Louise Prockter, instrument scientist for the Mercury Dual Imaging
System, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel,
Md.

Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. The
briefing also will be streamed live on NASA's Web site at:

http://www.nasa.gov
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: simonbp on 01/28/2008 11:45 pm
Quote
edkyle99 - 23/1/2008  2:49 PM

I'm pretty sure that the color Mariner 10 images most commonly seen are in false-color also.  I don't know if I've ever seen a "true color" image.

This one's pretty close:

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n15/ugordan/approx_rgb_gamma.jpg

From:

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=4812&view=findpost&p=108218

I know for a fact that they've seen some pretty interesting results; I wonder how much they will say at the Press Conference...

Simon ;)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: John44 on 01/30/2008 07:35 pm
MESSENGER M1 Flyby News Conference
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3254&Itemid=2
Title: RE: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 01/31/2008 04:32 am
RELEASE: 08-027

NASA SPACECRAFT STREAMS BACK SURPRISES FROM MERCURY

WASHINGTON - The recent flyby of Mercury by NASA's MESSENGER
spacecraft has given scientists an entirely new look at a planet once
thought to have characteristics similar to those of Earth's moon.
Researchers are amazed by the wealth of images and data that show a
unique world with a diversity of geological processes and a very
different magnetosphere from the one discovered and sampled more than
30 years ago.

After a journey of more than 2 billion miles and three and a half
years, NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and
Ranging spacecraft made its first flyby on Jan. 14. The mission is
the first sent to orbit the planet closest to our sun. The
spacecraft's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology
instruments collected more than 1,200 images and made other science
observations. Data included the first up-close measurements of
Mercury since the Mariner 10 spacecraft's third and final flyby on
March 16, 1975.

"This flyby allowed us to see a part of the planet never before viewed
by spacecraft, and our little craft has returned a gold mine of
exciting data," said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER's principal
investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington. "From the
perspectives of spacecraft performance and maneuver accuracy, this
encounter was near-perfect, and we are delighted that all of the
science data are now on the ground."

Unlike the moon, the spacecraft showed that Mercury has huge cliffs
with structures snaking up hundreds of miles across the planet's
face. These cliffs preserve a record of patterns of fault activity
from early in the planet's history. The spacecraft also revealed
impact craters that appear very different from lunar craters.

Instruments provided a topographic profile of craters and other
geological features on the night side of Mercury. The spacecraft also
discovered a unique feature that scientists dubbed "The Spider." This
formation never has been seen on Mercury before and nothing like it
has been observed on the moon. It lies in the middle of a large
impact crater called the Caloris basin and consists of more than 100
narrow, flat-floored troughs radiating from a complex central region.


"The Spider has a crater near its center, but whether that crater is
related to the original formation or came later is not clear at this
time," said James Head, science team co-investigator at Brown
University, Providence, R.I.

Now that the spacecraft has shown scientists the full extent of the
Caloris basin, its diameter has been revised upward from the Mariner
10 estimate of 800 miles to perhaps as large as 960 miles from rim to
rim. The plains inside the Caloris basin are distinctive and more
reflective than the exterior plains. Impact basins on the moon have
opposite characteristics.

The magnetosphere and magnetic field of Mercury during the flyby
appeared to be different from the Mariner 10 observations. The
spacecraft found the planet's magnetic field was generally quiet but
showed several signatures indicating significant pressure within the
magnetosphere.

Magnetic fields like Earth's and their resulting magnetospheres are
generated by electrical dynamos in the form of a liquid metallic
outer core deep in the planet's center. Of the four terrestrial
planets, only Mercury and Earth exhibit such a phenomenon. The
magnetic field deflects the solar wind from the sun, producing a
protective bubble around Earth that shields the surface of our planet
from those energetic particles and other sources farther out in the
galaxy. Similar variations are expected for Mercury's magnetic field,
but the precise nature of its field and the time scales for internal
changes are unknown. The next two flybys and the yearlong orbital
phase will shed more light on these processes.

The spacecraft's suite of instruments has provided insight into the
mineral makeup of the surface terrain and detected ultraviolet
emissions from sodium, calcium and hydrogen in Mercury's exosphere.
It also has explored the sodium-rich exospheric "tail," which extends
more than 25,000 miles from the planet.

"We should keep this treasure trove of data in perspective," said
project scientist Ralph McNutt of the Applied Physics Laboratory,
Laurel, Md. "With two flybys to come and an intensive orbital mission
to follow, we are just getting started to go where no one has been
before."

For more information on the flyby, visit:

www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 07/02/2008 03:17 am
MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-128

NASA TO REVEAL NEW DISCOVERIES FROM MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference Thursday, July 3,
at 2 p.m. EDT, to discuss analysis of data from the Mercury Surface,
Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft's
flyby of Mercury earlier this year.

The spacecraft is the first designed to orbit the planet closest to
the sun. It flew past Mercury on Jan. 14, 2008, and made the first
up-close measurements since Mariner 10's final flyby in 1975.

Analyses of the data show volcanoes were involved in the formation of
plains. The data also suggest the planet's magnetic field is actively
produced in its core. In addition, the mission has provided the first
look at the chemical composition of Mercury's surface. The results
will be reported in a series of 11 papers published July 4 in a
special section of Science magazine.

The teleconference participants are:
- Marilyn Lindstrom, program scientist, NASA Headquarters
- Sean Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of
Washington
- James W. Head III, professor of geological sciences, Brown
University, Providence, R.I.
- William McClintock, senior research associate, Laboratory for
Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder
- Thomas H. Zurbuchen, associate professor, Department of Atmospheric,
Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Reporters may access the embargoed science press package materials by
registering with EurekAlert! at www.eurekalert.org and e-mailing
[email protected] to expedite their registration. Once registered, they
may log in directly at:

http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci/

To participate in the teleconference, reporters in the United States
should call 1-888-455-3616 and use the passcode "messenger."
International reporters should call 1-517-623-4705. Audio of the
teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

When the briefing begins, related images will be available at:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/index.php

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 07/04/2008 02:51 pm
RELEASE: 08-166

NASA REVEALS NEW DISCOVERIES FROM MERCURY

GREENBELT, Md. -- Scientists have argued about the origins of
Mercury's smooth plains and the source of its magnetic field for more
than 30 years. Now, analyses of data from the January 2008 flyby of
the planet by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry
and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft have shown that volcanoes were
involved in plains formation and suggest that its magnetic field is
actively produced in the planet's core.

Scientists additionally took their first look at the chemical
composition of the planet's surface. The tiny craft probed the
composition of Mercury's thin atmosphere, sampled charged particles
(ions) near the planet, and demonstrated new links between both sets
of observations and materials on Mercury's surface. The results are
reported in a series of 11 papers published in a special section of
Science magazine July 4.

The controversy over the origin of Mercury's smooth plains began with
the 1972 Apollo 16 moon mission, which suggested that some lunar
plains came from material that was ejected by large impacts and then
formed smooth "ponds." When Mariner 10 imaged similar formations on
Mercury in 1975, some scientists believed that the same processes
were at work. Others thought Mercury's plains material came from
erupted lavas, but the absence of volcanic vents or other volcanic
features in images from that mission prevented a consensus.

Six of the papers in Science report on analyses of the planet's
surface through its reflectance and color variation, surface
chemistry, high-resolution imaging at different wavelengths, and
altitude measurements. The researchers found evidence of volcanic
vents along the margins of the Caloris basin, one of the solar
system's youngest impact basins. They also found that Caloris has a
much more complicated geologic history than previously believed.

The first altitude measurements from any spacecraft at Mercury also
found that craters on the planet are about a factor of two shallower
than those on Earth's moon. The measurements also show a complex
geologic history for Mercury.

Mercury's core makes up at least 60 percent of its mass, a figure
twice as large as any other known terrestrial planet. The flyby
revealed that the magnetic field, originating in the outer core and
powered by core cooling, drives very dynamic and complex interactions
among the planet's interior, surface, exosphere and magnetosphere.

Remarking on the importance of the core to surface geological
structures, Principal Investigator Sean Solomon at the Carnegie
Institution of Washington said, "The dominant tectonic landforms on
Mercury, including areas imaged for the first time by MESSENGER, are
features called lobate scarps, huge cliffs that mark the tops of
crustal faults that formed during the contraction of the surrounding
area. They tell us how important the cooling core has been to the
evolution of the surface. After the end of the period of heavy
bombardment, cooling of the planet's core not only fueled the
magnetic dynamo, it also led to contraction of the entire planet. And
the data from the flyby indicate that the total contraction is a
least one-third greater than we previously thought."

The flyby also made the first-ever observations of the ionized
particles in Mercury's unique exosphere. The exosphere is an
ultrathin atmosphere in which the molecules are so far apart they are
more likely to collide with the surface than with each other. The
planet's highly elliptical orbit, its slow rotation and particle
interactions with the magnetosphere, interplanetary medium and solar
wind result in strong seasonal and day-night differences in the way
particles behave.

For more information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger

or

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_flyby1.html
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 09/29/2008 09:15 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-186

NASA TO PREVIEW SECOND MERCURY FLYBY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on
Wednesday, Oct. 1, to preview the Oct. 6 flyby of Mercury by the
MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or
MESSENGER, spacecraft.

This second of three planned flybys will photograph most of the
planet's remaining unseen surface. The spacecraft will pass 125 miles
above Mercury's cratered surface, taking more than 1,200 pictures and
collecting a variety of data. The flyby also will provide a critical
gravity assist needed for the probe to become, in March 2011, the
first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

Briefing participants are:
- Marilyn M. Lindstrom, program scientist, NASA Headquarters in
Washington
- Daniel J. O'Shaughnessy, lead for guidance and control subsystem,
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
- Scott L. Murchie, co-investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory
- Sean C. Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of
Washington

To participate in the teleconference, reporters in the United States
should call 1-888-398-6118 and use the pass code Mercury.
International reporters should call 1-312-470-7417.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:



http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


Related images for the briefing will be available at:



http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/index.html
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 10/01/2008 06:02 pm
RELEASE: 08-251

NASA'S MESSENGER SPACECRAFT RETURNS TO MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA spacecraft will conduct the second of three
flybys of Mercury on Oct. 6 to photograph most of its remaining
unseen surface and collect science data.

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or
MESSENGER, spacecraft will pass 125 miles above the planet's cratered
surface, taking more than 1200 pictures. The flyby also will provide
a critical gravity assist needed for the probe to become, in March
2011, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

"The results from MESSENGER's first flyby of Mercury resolved debates
that are more than 30 years old," said Sean C. Solomon, the mission's
principal investigator from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
"This second encounter will uncover even more information about the
planet."

During the spacecraft's first flyby on Jan. 14, its cameras returned
images of approximately 20 percent of Mercury's surface never before
seen by space probes. Images showed that volcanic eruptions produced
many of Mercury's plains, its magnetic field appears to be actively
generated in a molten iron core, and the planet has contracted more
than previously thought.

"This second flyby will show us a completely new area of Mercury's
surface, opposite from the side of the planet we saw during the
first," said Louise M. Prockter, instrument scientist for the
spacecraft's Mercury Dual Imaging System at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Md.

The second flyby is expected to yield more surprises about the unique
physical processes governing Mercury's atmosphere, as well as
additional information about the charged particles located in and
around Mercury's dynamic magnetic field. An altimeter on the
spacecraft will measure the planet's topography, allowing scientists,
for the first time, to correlate high-resolution topography
measurements with high-resolution images.

A major goal of the orbital phase of the mission is to determine the
composition of Mercury's surface. Instruments designed to make those
measurements will get another peek at Mercury during this flyby.

"We will be able to do the first test of differences in the chemical
compositions between the two hemispheres viewed in the two flybys,"
said Ralph McNutt, the mission's project scientist at APL.
"Instruments also will provide information about portions of
Mercury's surface in unprecedented detail."

The spacecraft is more than halfway through a 4.9-billion-mile journey
to enter orbit around Mercury that includes more than 15 trips around
the sun. In addition to flying by Mercury, the spacecraft flew past
Earth in August 2005 and past Venus in October 2006 and June 2007.
The project is the seventh in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost,
scientifically focused space missions. The spacecraft was designed
and built by APL. The mission also is managed and operated by APL for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about the mission, visit:

www.nasa.gov/messenger

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: HIPAR on 10/06/2008 01:57 pm
The second flyby is completed.  If all went well here is what happeend:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/images/MESSENGER_Timeline_M2_D1.jpg

---  CHAS
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: sandrot on 10/06/2008 08:39 pm
Something has been released:
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/index.php
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: sandrot on 10/06/2008 08:42 pm
Here images are nicely listed by release date:
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/view.php?gallery_id=2&page=1&bydate=2008-10
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: HIPAR on 10/07/2008 12:40 am
The flyby data is stored aboard Messenger.  I believe transmissions will begin late tonight so hopefully we can see a few closeups tomorrow. 

Who figured out how to navigate this thing?  It must have taken months of supercomputer time to come up with the trajectory!

---  CHAS
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: HIPAR on 10/07/2008 01:09 pm
A very nice picture of Mercury snapped as Messenger departed has been posted.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: charlieb on 10/07/2008 01:25 pm
The flyby data is stored aboard Messenger.  I believe transmissions will begin late tonight so hopefully we can see a few closeups tomorrow. 

Who figured out how to navigate this thing?  It must have taken months of supercomputer time to come up with the trajectory!

---  CHAS

CHAS, go here

http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/40880

download the article.........
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 10/07/2008 02:13 pm
First close up released image :) Gorgeous Mercury:

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CW0131775256F_web.png?1223384259)

Hi res:
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?page=1&gallery_id=2&image_id=214 (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?page=1&gallery_id=2&image_id=214)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: EE Scott on 10/07/2008 03:07 pm
First close up released image :) Gorgeous Mercury:

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CW0131775256F_web.png?1223384259)

Hi res:
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?page=1&gallery_id=2&image_id=214 (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?page=1&gallery_id=2&image_id=214)

This is why we need to keep funding unmanned spacecraft.  Fantastic image.  Give me these images of never seen places over humans floating around in LEO any day of the week.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: eeergo on 10/07/2008 08:40 pm

This is why we need to keep funding unmanned spacecraft.  Fantastic image.  Give me these images of never seen places over humans floating around in LEO any day of the week.

I like floating people, spacecraft traffic and frequent video and missions too ;) To slowly get a feeling of how things and yourself would behave in microgravity thanks to watching astronaut videos and downlinks is a really fulfilling sensation.

Those Mercury images continue to be exceedingly cool  8)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: HIPAR on 10/08/2008 02:08 pm
I think Messenger and the other robots have run rings around the manned program on return of basic science for the investment.  Being somewhat facetious, manned spaceflight is mostly about toilets.  ;D

---  CHAS
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 10/24/2008 04:06 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M08-216

NASA TO RELEASE SCIENCE RESULTS, IMAGES FROM SECOND MERCURY FLYBY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a Science Update at 1 p.m. EDT on
Wednesday, Oct. 29, to announce findings and release new images from
the Oct. 6 flyby of Mercury by a NASA spacecraft. The briefing will
take place in the television studio at NASA Headquarters, located at
300 E Street, S.W., in Washington. It will be carried live on NASA
Television.

This second of three planned flybys by the MErcury Surface, Space
ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft, or MESSENGER,
photographed most of Mercury's remaining unseen surface. The
spacecraft passed 125 miles above the planet's cratered surface,
taking more than 1,200 pictures and collecting a variety of data. The
flyby provided a critical gravity assist needed for the probe to
become, in March 2011, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

Participants will be:
- Marilyn Lindstrom, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in
Washington
- Brian Anderson, deputy project scientist at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory
- Ronald Vervack, Jr., participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory
- Maria Zuber, co-investigator and head of the Department of Earth,
Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology
- Mark Robinson, co-investigator and professor at Arizona State
University School of Earth and Space Exploration

Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations.
Reporters also may listen or ask questions by phone. To reserve a
phone line, contact Steve Cole on 202-358-0918. For information about
NASA TV, streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv


For more information about the mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: rdale on 10/28/2008 10:13 pm
This originally was planned for Tuesday - now it's tomorrow, and WOW - WHAT A COINCIDENCE - the Constellation briefing is at THE SAME TIME!!!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 10/29/2008 04:17 pm
RELEASE: 08-275

MESSENGER SPACECRAFT REVEALS MORE HIDDEN TERRITORY ON MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA spacecraft gliding over the battered surface of
Mercury for the second time this year has revealed more previously
unseen real estate on the innermost planet. The probe also has
produced several science firsts and is returning hundreds of new
photos and measurements of the planet's surface, atmosphere and
magnetic field.

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or
MESSENGER, spacecraft flew by Mercury shortly after 4:40 a.m. EDT, on
Oct. 6. It completed a critical gravity assist to keep it on course
to orbit Mercury in 2011 and unveiled 30 percent of Mercury's surface
never before seen by a spacecraft.

"The region of Mercury's surface that we viewed at close range for the
first time this month is bigger than the land area of South America,"
said Sean Solomon, principal investigator and director of the
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of
Washington. "When combined with data from our first flyby and from
Mariner 10, our latest coverage means that we have now seen about 95
percent of the planet."

The spacecraft's science instruments operated throughout the flyby.
Cameras snapped more than 1,200 pictures of the surface, while
topography beneath the spacecraft was profiled with a laser
altimeter. The comparison of magnetosphere observations from the
spacecraft's first flyby in January with data from the probe's second
pass has provided key new insight into the nature of Mercury's
internal magnetic field and revealed new features of its
magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is the volume surrounding Mercury
that is controlled by the planet's magnetic field.

"The previous flybys by MESSENGER and Mariner 10 provided data only
about Mercury's eastern hemisphere," explains Brian Anderson of the
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, known as APL, in
Laurel, Md. "The most recent flyby gave us our first measurements on
Mercury's western hemisphere, and with them we discovered that the
planet's magnetic field is highly symmetric."

The probe's Mercury Laser Altimeter, or MLA, measured the planet's
topography, allowing scientists, for the first time, to correlate
high-resolution topography measurements with high-resolution images.

"The MLA collected altimetry in regions where images from MESSENGER
and Mariner 10 data are available, and new images were obtained of
the region sampled by the altimeter in January," said Maria Zuber,
co-investigator and head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and
Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"These topographic measurements now improve considerably the ability
to interpret surface geology."

The Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer observed
Mercury's thin atmosphere, known as an exosphere. The instrument
searched for emissions from sodium, calcium, magnesium, and hydrogen
atoms. Observations of magnesium are the first detection of this
chemical in Mercury's exosphere. Preliminary analysis suggests that
the spatial distributions of sodium, calcium, and magnesium are
different. Simultaneous observations of these spatial distributions,
also a first for the spacecraft, have opened an unprecedented window
into the interaction of Mercury's surface and exosphere.

Spacecraft images also are revealing for the first time vast geologic
differences on the surface.

"Now that MESSENGER's cameras have imaged more than 80 percent of
Mercury, it is clear that, unlike the moon and Mars, Mercury's
surface is more homogeneously ancient and heavily cratered, with
large extents of younger volcanic plains lying within and between
giant impact basins," said co-investigator Mark Robinson of Arizona
State University in Tempe.

The project is the seventh in NASA's Discovery Program of lower-cost,
scientifically focused missions. APL designed, built and operates the
spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission
Directorate in Washington. Science instruments were built by APL;
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; the University
of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
GenCorp Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., and Composite Optics Inc. of
San Diego, provided the propulsion system and composite structure.

For more information about the Mercury mission, visit:

www.nasa.gov/messenger

       
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 04/28/2009 04:44 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M09-069

NASA TO HOLD BRIEFING TO DISCUSS NEW FINDINGS ABOUT PLANET MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference on Thursday, April
30, at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss new data and findings revealed by the
Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft known as MESSENGER.

The spacecraft is the first mission designed to orbit the planet
closest to the sun. The probe flew past Mercury on Jan. 14, 2008, and
Oct. 6, 2008, conducting the first up-close measurements of the
planet since Mariner 10's final flyby on March 16, 1975.

The briefing participants are:
- Marilyn Lindstrom, program scientist, NASA Headquarters in
Washington
- William McClintock, co-investigator, University of Colorado,
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, Colo.
- James Slavin, co-investigator and chief, Laboratory for Solar and
Space Physics, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
- Thomas Watters, participating scientist, Smithsonian Institution in
Washington
- Brett Denevi, imaging team member and postdoctoral researcher,
Arizona State University in Phoenix

Reporters who would like to participate in the call should submit
requests for dial-in instructions to Sonja Alexander at
[email protected] A replay of the teleconference will be
available until May 7 by dialing 800-846-6758.

Supporting visuals will be available online April 30 at the start of
the teleconference at:



http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room


Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:



http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 05/01/2009 08:59 am
RELEASE: 09-092

MESSENGER SPACECRAFT REVEALS A VERY DYNAMIC PLANET MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA spacecraft gliding over the surface of Mercury
has revealed that the planet's atmosphere, the interaction of its
surrounding magnetic field with the solar wind, and its geological
past display greater levels of activity than scientists first
suspected. The probe also discovered a previously unknown large
impact basin about 430 miles in diameter -- equal to the distance
between Washington and Boston.

Analyses of these new findings and more are reported in four papers
published in the May 1 issue of Science magazine. The data come from
the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft, known as MESSENGER. On Oct. 6, 2008, the probe flew by
Mercury for the second time, capturing more than 1,200
high-resolution and color images of the planet. The probe unveiled
another 30 percent of the planet's surface that had never been seen
by previous spacecraft, gathering essential data for planning the
remainder of the mission.

"This second Mercury flyby provided a number of new findings," said
Sean Solomon, the probe's principal investigator from the Carnegie
Institution of Washington. "One of the biggest surprises was how
strongly the dynamics of the planet's magnetic field-solar wind
interaction changed from what we saw during the first Mercury flyby
in January 2008. The discovery of a large and unusually well
preserved impact basin shows concentrated volcanic and deformational
activity."

The spacecraft also made the first detection of magnesium in Mercury's
thin atmosphere, known as an exosphere. This observation and other
data confirm that magnesium is an important constituent of Mercury's
surface materials.

The probe's Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer
instrument detected the magnesium. Finding magnesium was not
surprising to scientists, but seeing it in the amounts and
distribution observed was unexpected. The instrument also measured
other exospheric constituents, including calcium and sodium.

"This is an example of the kind of individual discoveries that the
science team will piece together to give us a new picture of how the
planet formed and evolved," said William McClintock, co-investigator
and lead author of one of the four papers. McClintock, who is from
the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of
Colorado at Boulder, suspects that additional metallic elements from
the surface, including aluminum, iron and silicon, also contribute to
the exosphere.

The variability that the spacecraft observed in Mercury's
magnetosphere, the volume of space dominated by the planet's magnetic
field, so far supports the hypothesis that the great day-to-day
changes in Mercury's atmosphere may be a result of changes in the
shielding provided by the magnetosphere.

"The spacecraft observed a radically different magnetosphere at
Mercury during its second flyby compared with its earlier Jan. 14
encounter," said James Slavin from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Md. Slavin is a mission co-investigator and lead author
of one of the papers. "During the first flyby, important discoveries
were made, but scientists didn't detect any dynamic features. The
second flyby witnessed a totally different situation."

The spacecraft's discovery of the impact basin, called Rembrandt, is
the first time scientists have seen terrain well exposed on the floor
of a large impact basin on Mercury. Landforms such as those revealed
on the floor of Rembrandt usually are buried completely by volcanic
flows.

"This basin formed about 3.9 billion years ago, near the end of the
period of heavy bombardment of the inner solar system," said Thomas
Watters from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, a
participating scientist and lead author of one paper. "Although
ancient, the Rembrandt basin is younger than most other known impact
basins on Mercury."

Half of Mercury was unknown until a little more than a year ago.
Globes of the planet were blank on one side. Spacecraft images have
enabled scientists to see 90 percent of the planet's surface at high
resolution. The spacecraft's nearly global imaging coverage of the
surface after the second flyby gives scientists fresh insight into
how the planet's crust was formed.

"After mapping the surface, we see that approximately 40 percent is
covered by smooth plains," said Brett Denevi of Arizona State
University in Tempe, a team member and lead author of a paper. "Many
of these smooth plains are interpreted to be of volcanic origin, and
they are globally distributed. Much of Mercury's crust may have
formed through repeated volcanic eruptions in a manner more similar
to the crust of Mars than to that of the moon."

Scientists continue to examine data from the first two flybys and are
preparing to gather more information from a third flyby of the planet
on Sept. 29.

"The third Mercury flyby is our final dress rehearsal for the main
performance of our mission, the insertion of the probe into orbit
around Mercury in March 2011," said Solomon. "The orbital phase will
be like staging two flybys per day and will provide the continuous
collection of information about the planet and its environment for
one year. Mercury has been coy in revealing its secrets slowly so
far, but in less than two years the innermost planet will become a
close friend."

The MESSENGER project is the seventh in NASA's Discovery Program of
low-cost, scientifically focused missions. The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory of Laurel, Md., designed, built
and operates the spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science instruments were
built by the Applied Physics Laboratory; Goddard; the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor; and the University of Colorado in Boulder.
GenCorp Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., and Composite Optics Inc. of
San Diego provided the propulsion system and composite structure.

For more information about the Mercury mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger   
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 09/21/2009 04:20 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M09-181

NASA TO PREVIEW MISSION'S THIRD FLIGHT PAST MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on
Wednesday, Sept. 23, to preview the third and final flyby of Mercury
by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft known as MESSENGER.

On Sept. 29, the spacecraft will swing less than 142 miles above the
planet's rocky surface for a final gravity assist that will enable it
to enter orbit around Mercury in March 2011. With more than 90
percent of the planet's surface imaged after the spacecraft's second
flyby, the team will focus instruments on questions raised by the
earlier flybys to advance our understanding of the planet closest to
the sun.

The briefing participants are:
- Anthony Carro, MESSENGER program executive, NASA Headquarters in
Washington
- Eric J. Finnegan, mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
- Noam R. Izenberg, instrument scientist, Mercury Atmospheric and
Surface Composition Spectrometer, Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory
- Sean C. Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of
Washington

To participate in the teleconference, reporters should e-mail Dwayne
Brown at [email protected] for dial-in and passcode
information.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


At the beginning of the briefing, related images will be available at:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 09/23/2009 05:20 pm
RELEASE: 09-221

MESSENGER SPACECRAFT PREPARES FOR FINAL PASS BY MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry,
and Ranging spacecraft known as MESSENGER will fly by Mercury for the
third and final time on Sept. 29. The spacecraft will pass less than
142 miles above the planet's rocky surface for a final gravity assist
that will enable it to enter Mercury's orbit in 2011.

Determining the composition of Mercury's surface is a major goal of
the orbital phase of the mission. The spacecraft already has imaged
more than 90 percent of the planet's surface. The spacecraft's team
will activate instruments during this flyby to view specific features
to uncover more information about the planet.

"This flyby will be our last close look at the equatorial regions of
Mercury, and it is our final planetary gravity assist, so it is
important for the entire encounter to be executed as planned," said
Sean Solomon, principal investigator at the Carnegie Institution in
Washington. "As enticing as these flybys have been for discovering
some of Mercury's secrets, they are the hors d'oeuvres to the
mission's main course -- observing Mercury from orbit for an entire
year."

The spacecraft may observe how the planet interacts with conditions in
interplanetary space as a result of activity on the sun. During this
encounter, high spectral- and high spatial-resolution measurements
will be taken again of Mercury's tenuous atmosphere and tail.

"Scans of the planet's comet-like tail will provide important clues
regarding the processes that maintain the atmosphere and tail," said
Noam Izenberg, the instrument's scientist at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Md. "The
Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer will give us
a snapshot of how the distribution of sodium and calcium vary with
solar and planetary conditions. In addition, we will target the north
and south polar regions for detailed observations and look for
several new atmospheric constituents."

As the spacecraft approaches Mercury, cameras will photograph
previously unseen terrain. As the spacecraft departs, it will take
high-resolution images of the southern hemisphere. Scientists expect
the spacecraft's imaging system to take more than 1,500 pictures.
Those images will be used to create a mosaic to complement the high
resolution, northern-hemisphere mosaic obtained during the second
Mercury flyby. The first flyby took the spacecraft over the eastern
hemisphere in January 2008, and the second flyby took it over western
side in October 2008.

"We are going to collect high resolution, color images of
scientifically interesting targets that we identified from the second
flyby," said Ralph McNutt, a project scientist at APL. "The
spectrometer also will make measurements of those targets at the same
time."

Two spacecraft maneuvers will improve the ability of the spacecraft's
Neutron Spectrometer to detect low-energy neutrons sensitive to the
abundances of iron and titanium on Mercury's surface. These two
elements absorb neutrons and are critical to an understanding of how
the planet and its crust formed. A combination of day and night
measurements will enable scientists to test the influence that
planetary surface temperature has on the neutron population. The data
are important for interpreting measurements that will be made after
the probe is in orbit around Mercury.

An altimeter will make a topographic profile along the instrument
ground track of Mercury's surface. The data gathered will provide
additional topography of Mercury's surface features for ongoing
studies of the form and structure of its craters and large faults.
The information also will extend scientists' equatorial view of
Mercury's global shape and allow them to confirm the discovery made
during the first and second flyby that Mercury's equatorial region is
slightly elliptical.

The spacecraft has completed nearly three-quarters of its
4.9-billion-mile journey to enter orbit around Mercury. The trip
includes more than 15 trips around the sun. In addition to flying by
Mercury, the spacecraft flew past Earth in August 2005 and Venus in
October 2006 and June 2007.

The project is the seventh in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost,
scientifically focused space missions. The spacecraft was designed
and built by APL. The mission also is managed and operated by APL for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about the mission, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 01:31 pm
Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT



Quote,
News and Status Reports
NASA and the MESSENGER team will issue periodic news releases and status reports on mission
activities and make them available online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu and http://www.nasa.gov/
mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html.
When events and science results merit, the team will hold media briefings at NASA Headquarters in
Washington, D.C., or the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. Briefings
will be carried on NASA TV and the NASA website.
NASA Television
NASA Television is carried on the Web and on an MPEG-2 digital signal accessed via satellite AMC-
6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization. It is available in
Alaska and Hawaii on AMC-7, at 137 degrees west longitude, transponder 18C, at 4060 MHz, horizontal
polarization. A Digital Video Broadcast-compliant Integrated Receiver Decoder is required for
reception. For NASA TV information and schedules on the Web, visit http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
MESSENGER on the Web
MESSENGER information – including an electronic copy of this press kit, press releases, fact
sheets, mission details and background, status reports, and images – is available on the Web at
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu. MESSENGER multimedia files, background information, and news are
also available at http://www.nasa.gov/messenger.
end quote

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/multi06.html

Messenger closing in.............

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/whereis/index.php

what we will see

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/target_observ.html

fly with messenger your self

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/encountersm3/
notice that in a few days the space craft will look again for possible satellites lots of luck here if there is one its got to be tens of meters at best.

http://www.messenger-education.org/teachers/flyby.php
follow the flyby on twitter,facebook ect ect this is social networking nerd coverage ::)

http://dragonphysics.pbworks.com/MESSENGER-Flyby-3
this blog has a link to USTREAM for a live broadcast from mission control tonight.
http://dragonphysics.pbworks.com/MESSENGER-Ustream-Show

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CN0162589824M_RA_3_web.png?1254234739)


even here I smell................WATER !
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: simonbp on 09/29/2009 08:43 pm
Little over an hour till closest approach...
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: 2552 on 09/29/2009 09:09 pm
45 minutes.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 09:40 pm
I still do not see the promised UStream from mission control.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: simonbp on 09/29/2009 09:45 pm
10 min to closest approach
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 09:50 pm
ummmmm  18 minutes?
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 09:58 pm
well.................
messenger twitter says less then a minute away so the nasa press release must be off...............by a few minutes
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 09:59 pm
close approach 128 miles can you just reach out and touch mercury.

APL could improve its act if it wants to use facebook or other social net working sites.
one........if you tell the public you have 6 "fellows" at their mission control then they should open there facebook pages to the public,Three of these jokers have there facebooks on private.The spacecraft "herself" has her facebook on private.The one person who was allowed to UStream from the Science operations never did so.................
lets hope they did not fly the space craft into a metric VS yards into Mercury
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 09/29/2009 10:32 pm
this toy is working really well!
it may be based on telemetry not sure :)

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/encountersm3/index.php


The next Mercury mission
attached is a Beppi-Columbo Mercury mission astrodynamics paper.look what happens if the chemical orbit insertion engine fails at mercury.
answer? the space craft will use the Mercury L1 and its electric engine to enter orbit mo nths later.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: AlexInOklahoma on 09/29/2009 11:27 pm
The 'timeline' website /encountersm3/index.php (as listed above)is kind of neat, huh?

Alex
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 09/30/2009 01:19 pm
I never thought that anywhere could look less interesting than the Moon until I saw Mercury.  Of course, on Mercury, all the interesting stuff is invisible (especially its magnetic field). 
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: ugordan on 09/30/2009 01:40 pm
I never thought that anywhere could look less interesting than the Moon until I saw Mercury.  Of course, on Mercury, all the interesting stuff is invisible (especially its magnetic field). 

You obviously haven't seen Venus in visible light yet, then.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Hungry4info3 on 09/30/2009 02:23 pm
I never thought that anywhere could look less interesting than the Moon until I saw Mercury.  Of course, on Mercury, all the interesting stuff is invisible (especially its magnetic field). 

You obviously haven't seen Venus in visible light yet, then.

Haha I know right. Pale, almost white cream colour sphere, nothing else.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 09/30/2009 04:44 pm
I never thought that anywhere could look less interesting than the Moon until I saw Mercury.  Of course, on Mercury, all the interesting stuff is invisible (especially its magnetic field). 

You obviously haven't seen Venus in visible light yet, then.

Nope, only the Pioneer Venus UV-light images and the Magellan radar maps.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: ugordan on 09/30/2009 04:48 pm
You obviously haven't seen Venus in visible light yet, then.

Nope, only the Pioneer Venus UV-light images and the Magellan radar maps.

"Feast" your eyes on this, then: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3317/3447783055_7201387b94_o.png

Red/green/blue composite of Venus by yours truly, captured by none other than MESSENGER itself (so not completely off-topic!)
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: savuporo on 09/30/2009 07:07 pm
The thing went into the safe mode during approach,

Quote
Engineers now know that the loss of signal occurred when the spacecraft autonomously entered "safe mode," a condition in which the spacecraft ceases non-essential operations and turns to Earth to wait for instructions.  "We believe this mode transition was initiated by the on-board fault management system due to an unexpected configuration of the power system during eclipse,” said MESSENGER mission systems engineer Eric Finnegan.  The press statement goes on to say that "MESSENGER was returned to operational mode at 12:30 a.m. [EDT / 0430 UTC] with all systems reporting nominal operations. All on-board stored data were retuned to the ground by early morning and are being analyzed to confirm the full sequence of events."


http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002131/
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: edkyle99 on 09/30/2009 11:12 pm
The thing went into the safe mode during approach,

Quote
Engineers now know that the loss of signal occurred when the spacecraft autonomously entered "safe mode," a condition in which the spacecraft ceases non-essential operations and turns to Earth to wait for instructions.  "We believe this mode transition was initiated by the on-board fault management system due to an unexpected configuration of the power system during eclipse,” said MESSENGER mission systems engineer Eric Finnegan.  The press statement goes on to say that "MESSENGER was returned to operational mode at 12:30 a.m. [EDT / 0430 UTC] with all systems reporting nominal operations. All on-board stored data were retuned to the ground by early morning and are being analyzed to confirm the full sequence of events."


http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002131/

Has anything like this ever happened during a planetary flyby?  It reminds me of the frustrating last-minute Ranger 6 failure.

A good thing that Messenger will return to Mercury, but nonetheless a significant failure.  Fortunate perhaps that it happened during a flyby rather than during orbital insertion.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: AlexInOklahoma on 09/30/2009 11:28 pm
One word:  Murphy (!)

Always there, always will be  :-(

Alex
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: hop on 09/30/2009 11:41 pm
Has anything like this ever happened during a planetary flyby?  It reminds me of the frustrating last-minute Ranger 6 failure.
Yes, Dawn went into safe mode during a Mars flyby. http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001869/

I'm pretty sure there are other examples.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: ugordan on 10/01/2009 07:51 am
Has anything like this ever happened during a planetary flyby?

Similar things, yes. Cassini suffered a couple of particulary annoying glitches (there were many other, less annoying ones during the mission, but these stand out), one during an early Titan flyby when one of the recorders was erroneously set to "read only" so half the data was collected but lost. The other one potentially more catastrophic where just hours after closest approach on the one and only flyby of the moon Iapetus a cosmic ray tripped a power circuit initiating a safing event (by then the susceptibility was a known issue and a software fix in works, but wasn't uploaded to the s/c yet). Had it happened just several hours earlier all the flyby observations would have been lost. A scary proposition given how these events are rare and the previous one occured months before so +/- a couple of hours is statistically insignificant.

Dawn spacecraft safed itself recently during a Mars flyby, again a combination of software error and unexpected behavior on the spacecraft star tracker IIRC.

Rosetta shut down its narrow-angle camera just minutes before closest approach to asteroid Steins and all high resolution imagery was lost as a consequence. Apparently the camera overheated due to high usage and sofware safed the instrument until it cooled down.

There are numerous other glitches that happened, these are ones that come to mind now. Then there are also problems with the DSN network when one-of-a-kind radio observations or time-critical data playbacks are lost due to heavy rain, antenna outage etc...
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/01/2009 08:49 am
The thing went into the safe mode during approach,

Perhaps the Great Martian Space Probe Eater has reloated and Messenger has had a close call? ;)

Semi-relevant: When and for what reason did NASA start giving its probes individual names instead of program numbers (for example, Magellan insted of Pioneer Venus 3, Galileo instead of Pioneer 12, etc.)?
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Analyst on 10/01/2009 09:24 am
Semi-relevant: When and for what reason did NASA start giving its probes individual names instead of program numbers (for example, Magellan insted of Pioneer Venus 3, Galileo instead of Pioneer 12, etc.)?

At the same time the budget was barely enough for one of a kind, rare missions like Galileo in contrast to mission "lines" like Mariner 1-10 or essentially identical missions like Lunar Orbiter 1-5. PR also has been a factor.

Analyst
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/01/2009 01:25 pm
Perhaps the Great Martian Space Probe Eater has reloated and Messenger has had a close call? ;)

Other than out of the 20 US mission (I count viking as double missions) we have only had two launch failures (Mariner 3,8), lost two orbiters (Mars Observer, Mars Climate Orbiter) and lost a single lander (Mars Polar Lander) with two probes.

75% of the missions succeeded, 10% never left earth, and yes 15% have failed.

The Great Martian Space Probe Eater must think American probes are not as tasty as others...

btw. a complete list of all "known" mars missions : http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/log/
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: kevin-rf on 10/01/2009 01:29 pm

It is worth noting that Mariner 5 was originally built to go to mars, and when Mariner 4 worked, was instead launched towards Venus. Talk about flexible missions...
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 10/01/2009 09:00 pm
It has been reported that the never before seen terrain was imaged before space craft safe mode.(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CN0162744214M_web.png?1254430502)
(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CraterChains.png?1254430717) (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CN0162744128M_raw.jpg?1254430778)
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: robertross on 10/01/2009 09:02 pm
It has been reported that the never before seen terrain was imaged before space craft safe mode.

Yeah, watch them find something so incredible, they would need another spacecraft to photograph it...lol
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: rdale on 10/01/2009 09:16 pm
Yeah, watch them find something so incredible, they would need another spacecraft to photograph it...lol

It's an orbiter, not a fly-by mission. It'll be back and cover the surface many many times.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: robertross on 10/01/2009 09:26 pm
Yeah, watch them find something so incredible, they would need another spacecraft to photograph it...lol

It's an orbiter, not a fly-by mission. It'll be back and cover the surface many many times.

**assumming it doesn't have another 'glitch' **
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 10/01/2009 09:29 pm
It has been reported that the never before seen terrain was imaged before space craft safe mode.

Yeah, watch them find something so incredible, they would need another spacecraft to photograph it...lol
well.....................
there may be water in the polar craters so we would need a mercury LCROSS mission ! ;D
three different worlds produce double rimmed impact craters
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e4/Lowell_crater_PIA02836.jpg/601px-Lowell_crater_PIA02836.jpg)Mars(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CN0162744214M_web.png?1254430502)Mercury(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/MareOrientale_lunarOrbiter4_c1.jpg/180px-MareOrientale_lunarOrbiter4_c1.jpg)Moon
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: ugordan on 10/01/2009 09:40 pm
Yeah, watch them find something so incredible, they would need another spacecraft to photograph it...lol

It's an orbiter, not a fly-by mission. It'll be back and cover the surface many many times.

**assumming it doesn't have another 'glitch' **

I don't think the s/c operators are dumb enough not to disable all the instruments and their fault protection software prior to executing mission-critical maneuvers such as Mercury orbit insertion.

This flyby, along with flybys before that (and that includes 1 Earth flyby, 2 Venus and now 3 Mercury ones) was primarily a gravity assist and any science was bonus at most.

You can make snippy comments about the spacecraft all you want, but that doesn't change the fact this is where actual exploration happens.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: robertross on 10/01/2009 11:19 pm

You can make snippy comments about the spacecraft all you want, but that doesn't change the fact this is where actual exploration happens.

It may have been a snippy comment, but the track record for these types of missions speaks for itself: there are no guarantees in spaceflight, so you have to take advantage of every opportunity.

I do have great confidence though that the Messenger spacecraft will continue to provide great science once it goes into orbit & begins imaging the surface.

All data is good data.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: Art LeBrun on 10/02/2009 04:23 am
The thing went into the safe mode during approach,

Quote
Engineers now know that the loss of signal occurred when the spacecraft autonomously entered "safe mode," a condition in which the spacecraft ceases non-essential operations and turns to Earth to wait for instructions.  "We believe this mode transition was initiated by the on-board fault management system due to an unexpected configuration of the power system during eclipse,” said MESSENGER mission systems engineer Eric Finnegan.  The press statement goes on to say that "MESSENGER was returned to operational mode at 12:30 a.m. [EDT / 0430 UTC] with all systems reporting nominal operations. All on-board stored data were retuned to the ground by early morning and are being analyzed to confirm the full sequence of events."


http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002131/

Has anything like this ever happened during a planetary flyby?  It reminds me of the frustrating last-minute Ranger 6 failure.

 - Ed Kyle

Actually Ranger 6's failure occurred just minutes after launch when plasma generated by an explosive Atlas 199D booster staging traveled up the vehicle and short circuited two pins just inside an access door. Ranger 6 powered up for 67 seconds while still in the atmosphere which was a no no for a vacuum design system. The reality set in when the video warmup and transmit commands produced no images 2-1/2 days later. This was the 4th consecutive Ranger spacecraft failure and the 3rd after a perfect boost into space by an Atlas-Agena.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: ugordan on 10/02/2009 08:21 am
It may have been a snippy comment, but the track record for these types of missions speaks for itself: there are no guarantees in spaceflight, so you have to take advantage of every opportunity.

The point is, these weren't flybys in the vein of Voyagers 1 and 2 where their primary science observations were the flybys, these Messenger flybys were designed in for gravity assists and the science gathering is a secondary objective. The first Venus flyby occured during conjunction and as a precaution no science data was collected to avoid undesired spacecraft events like this one.

As such, you cannot make valid claims about the track record for this because spacecraft operators are being more than careful about preserving the spacecraft capability for the primary mission which is Mercury orbit.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: savuporo on 10/03/2009 06:19 am
Semi-relevant: When and for what reason did NASA start giving its probes individual names instead of program numbers (for example, Magellan insted of Pioneer Venus 3, Galileo instead of Pioneer 12, etc.)?

At the same time the budget was barely enough for one of a kind, rare missions like Galileo in contrast to mission "lines" like Mariner 1-10 or essentially identical missions like Lunar Orbiter 1-5.

I've always wondered. Werent these series missions actually cheaper ? I mean, when you are not building one-offs, your second or third probe with all its improvements is bound to be way cheaper than the original design.
Are there any solid budget numbers to review for these old missions ? Seeing soviet budgets for missions like Venera or Lunokhod would be extra interesting.
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: seshagirib on 10/13/2009 03:48 pm
Has anything like this ever happened during a planetary flyby?

Similar things, yes. Cassini suffered a couple of particulary annoying glitches (there were many other, less annoying ones during the mission, but these stand out), one during an early Titan flyby when one of the recorders was erroneously set to "read only" so half the data was collected but lost. The other one potentially more catastrophic where just hours after closest approach on the one and only flyby of the moon Iapetus a cosmic ray tripped a power circuit initiating a safing event (by then the susceptibility was a known issue and a software fix in works, but wasn't uploaded to the s/c yet). Had it happened just several hours earlier all the flyby observations would have been lost. A scary proposition given how these events are rare and the previous one occured months before so +/- a couple of hours is statistically insignificant.

Dawn spacecraft safed itself recently during a Mars flyby, again a combination of software error and unexpected behavior on the spacecraft star tracker IIRC.

Rosetta shut down its narrow-angle camera just minutes before closest approach to asteroid Steins and all high resolution imagery was lost as a consequence. Apparently the camera overheated due to high usage and sofware safed the instrument until it cooled down.

There are numerous other glitches that happened, these are ones that come to mind now. Then there are also problems with the DSN network when one-of-a-kind radio observations or time-critical data playbacks are lost due to heavy rain, antenna outage etc...

50% of imagery from Huygens landing was lost due to software bug( Cassini did not listen on the A channel).

Potentially more damaging design bug was found and resolved post launch. The Cassini radio hardware was not capable of handling the Doppler shift during Huygens landing. This was resolved by changing the trajectory to reduce the Doppler shift.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens_probe#A_critical_design_flaw_resolved

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens_probe#Channel_A_data_lost


Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 10/14/2009 08:30 pm
images from the recent Mercury flyby  ;D
more to come in the years ahead and soon the ESA mercury mission (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CraterChains.png?1255551976)

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/RIDGE%20CRATER.png?1255552064)

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/strangeneighbors_CN0162744138M_trim.jpg?1255552116)

(http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/picsMed/CN0162744006M_RA_3_web.png?1255552166)

and this geocities site will die in a week or two look at the massive data for ranger for example!
http://www.geocities.com/bobandrepont/unmannedpdf.htm
an example is the Centaur for the viking mars mission where did it go?
attached below
Title: Re: Messenger third Mercury flyby 6:02 pm EDT
Post by: infocat13 on 10/14/2009 09:18 pm

You can make snippy comments about the spacecraft all you want, but that doesn't change the fact this is where actual exploration happens.

It may have been a snippy comment, but the track record for these types of missions speaks for itself: there are no guarantees in spaceflight, so you have to take advantage of every opportunity.

I do have great confidence though that the Messenger spacecraft will continue to provide great science once it goes into orbit & begins imaging the surface.

All data is good data.

actually both of you make a good point.In 2001 0r 2002 I emailed Dr Salomon about space craft trajectory's inquiring if during the first flyby the unseen terrain would be imaged Just in case the space craft failed before orbit insertion and he said yes! the trajectory was designed for orbit insertion and flyby imagery "in case............."
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 10/29/2009 07:57 pm
RELEASE: M09-208

NASA TO RELEASE NEW IMAGES AND FINDINGS FROM THIRD MERCURY FLYBY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST on
Tuesday, Nov. 3, to announce scientific findings and release new
images from the third and final flyby of Mercury by the Mercury
Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft,
known as MESSENGER.

The probe's cameras and instruments collected high-resolution and
color images of the planet on Sept. 29, unveiling another six percent
of Mercury's surface never before seen by a spacecraft.

The briefing participants are:
- Sean Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of
Washington
- Ronald J. Vervack, Jr., participating scientist, The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md.
- David J. Lawrence, participating scientist, APL
- Brett Denevi, imaging team member and postdoctoral researcher,
Arizona State University, Tempe

To participate in the teleconference, reporters should e-mail Sonja
Alexander at:

[email protected]

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


At the beginning of the briefing, related images will be available
online at:

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 11/03/2009 05:12 pm
RELEASE: 09-257

MESSENGER SPACECRAFT REVEALS MORE HIDDEN TERRITORY ON MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA spacecraft's third and final flyby of Mercury
gives scientists, for the first time, an almost complete view of the
planet's surface and provides new scientific findings about this
relatively unknown world.

The Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging
spacecraft, known as MESSENGER, flew by Mercury on Sept. 29. The
probe completed a critical gravity assist to remain on course to
enter into orbit around Mercury in 2011. Despite shutting down
temporarily because of a power system switchover during a solar
eclipse, the spacecraft's cameras and instruments collected
high-resolution and color images unveiling another 6 percent of the
planet's surface never before seen at close range.

Approximately 98 percent of Mercury's surface now has been imaged by
NASA spacecraft. After MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury, it
will see the polar regions, which are the only unobserved areas of
the planet.

"Although the area viewed for the first time by spacecraft was less
than 350 miles across at the equator, the new images reminded us that
Mercury continues to hold surprises," said Sean Solomon, principal
investigator for the mission and director of the Department of
Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Many new features were revealed during the third flyby, including a
region with a bright area surrounding an irregular depression,
suspected to be volcanic in origin. Other images revealed a
double-ring impact basin approximately 180 miles across. The basin is
similar to a feature scientists call the Raditladi basin, which was
viewed during the probe's first flyby of Mercury in January 2008.

"This double-ring basin, seen in detail for the first time, is
remarkably well preserved," said Brett Denevi, a member of the
probe's imaging team and a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State
University in Tempe. "One similarity to Raditladi is its age, which
has been estimated to be approximately one billion years old. Such an
age is quite young for an impact basin, because most basins are about
four times older. The inner floor of this basin is even younger than
the basin itself and differs in color from its surroundings. We may
have found the youngest volcanic material on Mercury."

One of the spacecraft's instruments conducted its most extensive
observations to date of Mercury's exosphere, or thin atmosphere,
during this encounter. The flyby allowed for the first detailed scans
over Mercury's north and south poles. The probe also has begun to
reveal how Mercury's atmosphere varies with its distance from the
sun.

"A striking illustration of what we call 'seasonal' effects in
Mercury's exosphere is that the neutral sodium tail, so prominent in
the first two flybys, is 10 to 20 times less intense in emission and
significantly reduced in extent," says participating scientist Ron
Vervack, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,
or APL, in Laurel, Md. "This difference is related to expected
variations in solar radiation pressure as Mercury moves in its orbit
and demonstrates why Mercury's exosphere is one of the most dynamic
in the solar system."

The observations also show that calcium and magnesium exhibit
different seasonal changes than sodium. Studying the seasonal changes
in all exospheric constituents during the mission orbital phase will
provide key information on the relative importance of the processes
that generate, sustain, and modify Mercury's atmosphere.

The third flyby also revealed new information on the abundances of
iron and titanium in Mercury's surface materials. Earlier Earth and
spacecraft-based observations showed that Mercury's surface has a
very low concentration of iron in silicate minerals, a result that
led to the view that the planet's crust is generally low in iron.

"Now we know Mercury's surface has an average iron and titanium
abundance that is higher than most of us expected, similar to some
lunar mare basalts," says David Lawrence, an APL participating
mission scientist.

The spacecraft has completed nearly three-quarters of its
4.9-billion-mile journey to enter orbit around Mercury. The full trip
will include more than 15 trips around the sun. In addition to flying
by Mercury, the spacecraft flew past Earth in August 2005 and Venus
in October 2006 and June 2007.

The spacecraft was designed and built by APL. The mission is managed
and operated by APL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in
Washington.

For more information about the mission, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 07/15/2010 07:18 pm
RELEASE: 10-170

MESSENGER SPACECRAFT REVEALS NEW INFORMATION ABOUT MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- The first spacecraft designed by NASA to orbit Mercury
is giving scientists a new perspective on the planet's atmosphere and
evolution.

Launched in August 2004, the Mercury Surface, Space Environment,
Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft, known as MESSENGER, conducted a
third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009. The probe
completed a critical maneuver using the planet's gravity to remain on
course to enter into orbit around Mercury next year.

Data from the final flyby has revealed the first observations of ion
emissions in Mercury's exosphere, or thin atmosphere; new information
about the planet's magnetic substorms; and evidence of younger
volcanic activity than previously recorded. The results are reported
in three papers published online in the July 15 edition of Science
Express.

The distribution of individual chemical elements that the spacecraft
saw in Mercury's exosphere varied around the planet. Detailed
altitude profiles of those elements in the exosphere over the north
and south poles of the planet were also measured for the first time.

"These profiles showed considerable variability among the sodium,
calcium, and magnesium distributions, indicating that several
processes are at work and that a given process may affect each
element quite differently," said Ron Vervack, lead author of one of
the papers and the spacecraft's participating scientist at the Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md.

Emission from ionized calcium in Mercury's exosphere was observed for
the first time during the flyby. The emission was concentrated over a
relatively small portion of the exosphere, with most of the emission
occurring close to the equatorial plane.

During its first two flybys of Mercury, the spacecraft captured images
confirming that the planet's early history was marked by pervasive
volcanism. The spacecraft's third flyby revealed a new chapter in
that history within an impact basin 180 miles in diameter that is
among the youngest basins yet seen. The basin, recently named
Rachmaninoff, has an inner floor filled with smooth plains that
differ in color from their surroundings. These sparsely cratered
plains are younger than the basin they fill and apparently formed
from material that once flowed across the surface.

"We interpret these plains to be the youngest volcanic deposits we
have yet found on Mercury," said Louise Prockter, one of the
spacecraft's deputy project scientists at APL and lead author of one
of the three papers. "Other observations suggest the planet spanned a
much greater duration volcanism than previously thought, perhaps
extending well into the second half of solar system history."

For the first time, the spacecraft revealed substorm-like build-up, or
loading, of magnetic energy in Mercury's magnetic tail. The increases
in energy measured in Mercury's magnetic tail were very large. They
occurred quickly, lasting only two to three minutes from beginning to
end. These increases in tail magnetic energy at Mercury are about 10
times greater than at Earth, and the substorm-like events run their
course about 50 times more rapidly.

Magnetic substorms are space-weather disturbances that occur
intermittently on Earth, usually several times per day, and last from
one to three hours. Earth substorms are accompanied by a range of
phenomena, such as the majestic auroral displays seen in the Arctic
and Antarctic skies. Substorms also are associated with hazardous
energetic particle events that can wreak havoc with communications
and Earth-observing satellites.

"The extreme tail loading and unloading observed at Mercury implies
that the relative intensity of substorms must be much larger than at
Earth," said James A. Slavin, a space physicist at NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and a member of the
spacecraft's science team and lead author of another paper.

The new measurements give fresh insight on the time duration of
Mercury's substorms. Scientists await more extensive measurements
when the spacecraft is in orbit.

"Every time we've encountered Mercury, we've discovered new
phenomena," said Sean Solomon, the mission's principal investigator
at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "We're learning that
Mercury is an extremely dynamic planet, and it has been so throughout
its history. After MESSENGER has been safely inserted into orbit
around Mercury next March, we'll be in for a terrific show."

In addition to flying by Mercury, the spacecraft flew past Earth in
August 2005 and Venus in October 2006 and June 2007. Approximately 98
percent of Mercury's surface has been imaged by NASA spacecraft.
After this spacecraft goes into orbit around Mercury for a yearlong
study of the planet, it will observe the polar regions, which are the
only unobserved areas of the planet.

The spacecraft was designed and built by APL. The mission is managed
and operated by APL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in
Washington.

For more information about the mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger


-end-
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Space Pete on 07/15/2010 08:52 pm
BBC News: "Mercury's youngest volcano found".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10639789
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Space Pete on 09/03/2010 08:42 pm
MESSENGER Team Completes Two-Week Orbital Flight Test.

The MESSENGER team has just wrapped up a two-week flight test to ensure that the Mercury-bound spacecraft is ready for orbital operations. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft to enter into orbit about Mercury, embarking on a year-long mission to study in depth the planet closest to the Sun. The completion of this recent test provides a high-fidelity verification of the tools, processes, and procedures that are needed to conduct flight operations at Mercury.

"Even though we have more than six months to go until orbit, we wanted to do this test now to make sure that we had enough time to make adjustments," says MESSENGER Mission Operations Manager Andy Calloway, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., "But everything worked as expected. We have proven, not just in the ground tests but now in flight, that the sequences and planned daily activities can be conducted safely and as expected. We are quite pleased with the results."

The flight test took place from August 17 to August 29. In order to force the spacecraft to rotate in space and to gather science data in a manner similar to the operations the probe will experience during the orbital phase of the mission, the ephemerides used onboard the spacecraft had to be modified. "We had to convince the spacecraft that it was in Mercury orbit," Calloway says. "We also intentionally chose a two-week period with Sun and Earth geometries similar to those that MESSENGER will see during the orbital phase of the mission. The goal was to exercise the flight system in flight conditions as nearly identical as possible to those that will be experienced in orbit to validate performance, and to run as many of the same processes as possible to match a typical fortnight of orbital operations."

In support of the two-week flight test, team members worked with NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) schedulers and engineers to put in place an orbit-like track schedule that is very different from cruise. This schedule consists of daily contacts to play back stored data, upload commands, and monitor vehicle health, while pointing the high-gain antenna at Earth, plus about five hours a day for radio science measurements while the spacecraft points away from Earth and conducts science operations.

"During MESSENGER's cruise phase, we typically have had three to four DSN tracks a week, for about six to eight hours each," Calloway says. "But during orbit we will be tracking the spacecraft for 13 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. We needed to see if that was a realistic track schedule and one that we could maintain with our staffing plan, ground tools, and automation scripts."

Approximately once a week during orbit, mission operators will perform brief propulsive maneuvers, where they fire MESSENGER's small thrusters to unload angular momentum that builds up in the probe's reaction wheel assemblies due to continuous external forces pushing on the spacecraft – primarily from the Sun. "During the test, they performed three such maneuvers successfully," says APL's Eric Finnegan, the MESSENGER Systems Engineer. "We were able to demonstrate that such momentum management actions can be executed safely and routinely without any impact to science data gathering."

During the two weeks of the test, the team also exercised a variety of orbit-like scenarios and activities, including eclipse power management, star tracker management, quick data acquisition, variable downlink data-rate changes, command timing biases, weekly ephemeris loads, bi-weekly command loads, and instrument memory checks.

During the second half of the test, the science instruments conducted a series of observations as if the spacecraft were in orbit about Mercury. For example, the Mercury Dual Imaging System collected more than 1,400 images, as if mapping the planet, and the Mercury Laser Altimeter fired four times over the course of two days, as if ranging to the planet's surface. The command sequence directing these activities was generated using the mission's automated science-planning tool, as all sequences will be during the prime mission.

"Our entire cruise phase, and even the three Mercury flybys, have only been warm-ups for the main event of our mission," says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "These two weeks of flight tests have been our dress rehearsal, to ensure that our spacecraft and our flight team are ready for opening night."

Source. (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=152)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Celebrimbor on 11/29/2010 12:41 pm
Am I right in thinking that MESSENGERs Mercury Orbit insertion will happen on this next orbit around the Sun?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/whereis/index.php#current_orbit
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: dsmillman on 11/29/2010 01:13 pm
Am I right in thinking that MESSENGERs Mercury Orbit insertion will happen on this next orbit around the Sun?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/whereis/index.php#current_orbit
Yes, Messenger and Mercury are their last full orbits before MOI.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 03/08/2011 10:29 pm
March 7, 2011
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

Ten Days from Mercury Orbit Insertion

Ten days from now – on March 17 EDT – the MESSENGER spacecraft will execute a 15-minute maneuver that will place it into orbit about Mercury, making it the first craft ever to do so, and initiating a one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet.

Starting today, antennas from each of the three Deep Space Network (DSN) ground stations will begin a round-the-clock vigil, allowing flight control engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to monitor MESSENGER on its final approach to Mercury.

At 10:40 a.m. this morning, the spacecraft began executing the last cruise command sequence of the mission. This command load will execute until next Monday, when the command sequence containing the orbit-insertion burn will start.

“This is a milestone event for our small, but highly experienced, operations team, marking the end of six and one half years of successfully shepherding the spacecraft through six planetary flybys, five major propulsive maneuvers, and sixteen trajectory-correction maneuvers, all while simultaneously preparing for orbit injection and primary mission operations,” says MESSENGER Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan. “Whatever the future holds, this team of highly dedicated engineers has done a phenomenal job methodically generating, testing, and verifying commands to the spacecraft, getting MESSENGER where it is today.”

The mission operations team now turns its attention to the final preparations for the insertion burn next week and establishing nominal operations for the primary mission. As with the last three approaches to Mercury, the navigation team and the guidance and control team have been successfully using the solar radiation of the Sun to carefully adjust the trajectory of the spacecraft toward the optimum point in space and time to start the orbit-insertion maneuver.

As of the most recent navigation report on February 22, the spacecraft was less than 5 kilometers and less than three seconds from the target arrival point.

“These figures place the spacecraft well within the target corridor for successful orbit insertion,” Finnegan says. “Over the next week, additional body and solar-array attitude alternations will further refine this approach and nudge the spacecraft closer to the optimum target location. This approach will require the spacecraft to spend extended amounts of time at attitudes that do not support transmission of telemetry from the spacecraft, so monitoring of the spacecraft over the next week will be conducted with both telemetry and carrier signals.”

The in-flight preparations for this historic injection maneuver began on February 8, when several heaters on the spacecraft were configured to condition the bi-propellant used during the maneuver.

“Similar to pre-heating the diesel engine of a truck or car prior to starting in cold weather to allow ignition and prevent damage to the engine, the MESSENGER team turns on and off different heaters on the spacecraft so that the pressures for each of the two propellant species (hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) are at the optimum ratio for safe and efficient maneuver execution,” Finnegan explains.

Last Wednesday, the engineering and operations teams convened the last detailed review of the injection command sequence. After three iterations of this command sequence, countless Monte-Carlo simulations by the guidance and control team, numerous propulsion modeling simulations, and more than 30 hardware simulations covering all manner of nominal and anomalous operating configurations, the sequence and the associated fault protection configuration have been given the green light to start final preparations for upload to the spacecraft this week.

"The cruise phase of the MESSENGER mission has reached the end game,” adds MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "Orbit insertion is the last hurdle to a new game level, operation of the first spacecraft in orbit about the solar system’s innermost planet. The MESSENGER team is ready and eager for orbital operations to begin."
 
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 03/10/2011 07:02 pm
The Orbital Insertion burn will commence at 12:45am UTC on March 18th, 2011, and continue for 15 minutes.

Remember, for us Americans, Daylight Savings time goes into effect at 2:00am on the 13th, changing what would have been an East Coast 5-hr difference into a 4-hr difference. So the Orbital Insertion burn will be at 20:45 (8:45pm) Daylight Savings Time on the American East Coast (New York, Washington, Orlando, etc). It will put Messenger into a polar orbit so over time every square inch of Mercury's surface will be detailed.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 03/10/2011 07:22 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M11-052

NASA MEDIA TELECON PREVIEWS FIRST SPACECRAFT TO ORBIT MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on
Tuesday, March 15, to discuss the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging,
or MESSENGER, will enter orbit at approximately 9 p.m. EDT on
Thursday, March 17. The spacecraft has conducted more than a dozen
laps through the inner solar system for the past 6.6 years.

Media teleconference participants are:
-- Andy Calloway, MESSENGER mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md.
-- Carl Engelbrecht, MESSENGER propulsion subsystem lead, APL
-- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie
Institution of Washington

To participate and to receive dial-in instructions, reporters must
contact Steve Cole at [email protected] or 202-358-0918.

During the briefing, related images will be available at:



http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/media/MOITelecon.html


Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's website
at:



http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio


At 10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 16, NASA experts will hold a
one-hour, live Web chat to answer questions about MESSENGER's orbital
insertion. The chat window will open at 9:30 a.m. To participate,
visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/messenger_chat.html


For more information about the mission, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/messenger


Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 03/17/2011 04:17 pm
MESSENGER Mission News
March 16, 2011
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MESSENGER On Autopilot for Orbit Insertion
MESSENGER is now on autopilot, faithfully executing a detailed set of instructions required to achieve its historic rendezvous with Mercury tomorrow night.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, all attitude re-orientations planned to control the probe’s momentum accumulation and adjust its trajectory were successfully completed. MESSENGER turned to point its high-gain antenna back to Earth for the final stretch of continuous data monitoring until just before the start of Mercury orbit insertion.

The operations team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., has monitored on-board commanded vehicle re-configurations and has sent pre-defined ground commands to establish configurations for the burn.

The science instrument suite has recorded the last set of data for the cruise portion of the mission, and all instruments have been turned off. Although not in an operational mode, the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer has been left in its stand-by mode to ensure thermal stability of the delicate cryogenic cooler. The instruments will be tuned back on as part of orbital commissioning beginning on March 23.

“The navigation team is reporting that there has been little change from the previous targeting estimates, so the spacecraft is on the glide-slope for final approach to Mercury,” says MESSENGER Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: agman25 on 03/17/2011 08:54 pm
3 hours to go for MOI burn

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/orbit_insertion/stationkeeping.htm

Webcast is here

http://mfile.akamai.com/7111/live/reflector:22179.asx?bkup=22194
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 03/17/2011 08:58 pm
*fingers crossed*
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Alpha Control on 03/17/2011 09:25 pm
Great article by Bill Harwood on Messenger. I found it to be very good reading.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1103/17messenger/
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: 2552 on 03/17/2011 09:31 pm
*fingers crossed*

Seconded.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: simonbp on 03/17/2011 09:57 pm
Thirded, though Messenger has the distinct advantage of having returned a massive amount of great data years before even getting into orbit.

But still, go for MOI!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 03/17/2011 10:53 pm
Live thread started by Chris:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=24511.0
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 06/11/2011 08:05 am
MEDIA ADVISORY: M11-119

CORRECTION - NASA RELEASING NEW SPACECRAFT ORBITAL VIEWS OF MERCURY

Corrected to remove reference to "first ever" images.

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT on
Thursday, June 16, to reveal new images and science findings from the
first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. The event will be held in the NASA
Headquarters auditorium located at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. NASA
Television and the agency's website will broadcast the event.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging,
or MESSENGER spacecraft conducted more than a dozen laps through the
inner solar system for six years prior to achieving the historic
orbit insertion on March 17.

Briefing participants are:
-- Brett Denevi, scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL) , Laurel, Md.
-- Ralph McNutt, Jr., MESSENGER project scientist, APL
-- Larry Nittler, scientist, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism,
Carnegie Institution of Washington
-- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie
Institution

Reporters may attend the event, ask questions from participating NASA
locations, or join by phone. To obtain dial-in information,
journalists must email Dwayne Brown at [email protected] with
their name, media affiliation and work telephone number by 9 a.m. on
June 16.

For more information about the mission, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html


For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/ntv   

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 06/16/2011 06:20 pm
RELEASE: 11-186

NASA SPACECRAFT CONFIRMS THEORIES, SEES SURPRISES AT MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA scientists are making new discoveries about the
planet Mercury. Data from MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbit
Mercury, is giving scientists important clues to the origin of the
planet and its geological history and helping them better understand
its dynamic interior and exterior processes.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft, or MESSENGER, has been orbiting Mercury since March 18.
To date the spacecraft has provided tens of thousands of images
showing detailed planetary features. The planet's surface previously
had been seen only at comparatively low resolution but is now in
sharper focus.

The spacecraft also has collected extensive measurements of the
chemical composition of Mercury's surface and topography and gathered
global observations of the planet's magnetic field. Data now confirm
that bursts of energetic particles in Mercury's magnetosphere are a
continuing product of the interaction of Mercury's magnetic field
with the solar wind.

"We are assembling a global overview of the nature and workings of
Mercury for the first time," said MESSENGER principal investigator
Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "Many of our
earlier ideas are being cast aside as new observations lead to new
insights. Our primary mission has another three Mercury years to run,
and we can expect more surprises as our solar system's innermost
planet reveals its long-held secrets."

Flyby images of Mercury had detected bright, patchy deposits on some
crater floors. Without high-resolution images to obtain a closer
look, these features remained only a curiosity. Now new detailed
images have revealed these patchy deposits to be clusters of rimless,
irregular pits varying in size from several hundred feet to a few
miles wide. These pits are often surrounded by diffuse halos of more
reflective material and are found on central peaks, peak rings, and
rims of craters.

"The etched appearance of these landforms is unlike anything we've
seen before on Mercury or the moon," said Brett Denevi, a staff
scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
(APL) in Laurel, Md., and a member of the MESSENGER imaging team. "We
are still debating their origin, but they appear to be relatively
young and may suggest a more abundant than expected volatile
component in Mercury's crust."

One of two instruments on the spacecraft designed to measure the
quantity of key chemical elements on Mercury has made several
important discoveries since the orbital mission began. Elemental
ratios averaged over large areas of the planet's surface show that
Mercury's surface differs markedly in composition from that of the
moon.

Observations have revealed substantial amounts of sulfur at Mercury's
surface, lending support to prior suggestions from ground-based
telescopic observations that sulfide minerals are present. This
discovery suggests that the original building blocks from which
Mercury formed may have been less oxidized than those that formed the
other terrestrial planets. The result also hints that
sulfur-containing gases may have contributed to past explosive
volcanic activity on Mercury.

Topography data of Mercury's northern hemisphere reveal the planet's
large-scale shape and profiles of geological features in high detail.
The north polar region is a broad area of low elevations, whereas the
overall range in topographic heights seen to date exceeds 5 miles (9
kilometers).

Two decades ago, Earth-based radar images showed deposits thought to
consist of water ice and perhaps other ices near Mercury's north and
south poles. These deposits are preserved on the cold, permanently
shadowed floors of high-latitude impact craters. MESSENGER is testing
this idea by measuring the floor depths of craters near Mercury's
north pole. The craters hosting polar deposits appear to be deep
enough to be consistent with the idea that those deposits are in
permanently shadowed areas.

During the first of three Mercury flybys in1974, Mariner 10 discovered
bursts of energetic particles in the planet's Earth-like
magnetosphere. Four bursts of particles were observed on that flyby.
Scientists were puzzled that no such strong events were detected by
MESSENGER during any of its three flybys of the planet in 2008 and
2009. But now that the spacecraft is in near-polar orbit around
Mercury, energetic events are being seen regularly.

The spacecraft was designed and built by APL. The lab manages and
operates the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in
Washington. The mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed
for SMD by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala.

For more information about the mission, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/messenger

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 09/08/2011 07:20 pm
MESSENGER Team Delivers First Orbital Data to Planetary Data System

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=182
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 09/09/2011 11:50 am
MESSENGER Team Delivers First Orbital Data to Planetary Data System

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=182

Here's one composite using that data. If you were in a high orbit around Mercury, this is what you might see:
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: dsmillman on 09/29/2011 12:18 am
There will  be a telecon tomorrow:

NASA Spacecraft Reveals New Details Of Planet Mercury; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EDT on Sept. 29   WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 29, to discuss new data and images from the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft conducted fifteen laps through the inner solar system for more than six years before achieving the historic orbit insertion on March 18.

Briefing participants are:
-     Ed Graykzeck, MESSENGER program manager, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-     James Head, III, professor of geological sciences, Brown University
-     David Blewett, MESSENGER participating scientist and staff scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md.
-     Patrick Peplowski, staff scientist, APL
-     Thomas Zurbuchen, professor of space science and aerospace engineering, University of Michigan

To participate in the teleconference, reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at [email protected] or 202-358-1726, by noon on Sept. 29 for dial-in instructions.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

Related images and supporting briefing information will be available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger

 

At the beginning or end of the telecon an 800 number will be announced that provides a replay of the telecon.  Will someone please put that number on this thread?
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 09/29/2011 06:40 pm
RELEASE: 11-330

NASA SPACECRAFT REVEALING MORE DETAILS ABOUT PLANET MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, the first to achieve orbit
around Mercury, is providing scientists new information about the
planet. The data show widespread flood volcanism similar to Earth,
clearer views of Mercury's surface, the first measurements of its
elemental composition, and details about charged particles near the
planet.

MESSENGER, or the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry,
and Ranging spacecraft, conducted 15 laps through the inner solar
system for more than six years before achieving the historic orbit
insertion March 18. The new results are reported in seven papers
published in Science magazine.

"MESSENGER's instruments are capturing data that can be obtained only
from orbit," says principal investigator Sean Solomon, of the
Carnegie Institution of Washington. "Mercury has many more surprises
in store for us as our mission progresses."

Scientists for decades had puzzled over whether Mercury had volcanic
deposits on its surface. New data show a huge expanse of volcanic
plains surrounding the planet's north polar region. These continuous
smooth plains cover more than six percent of the planet's total
surface. The deposits appear typical of flood lavas, or huge volumes
of solidified molten rock similar to those found in the northwest
United States.

"If you imagine standing at the base of the Washington Monument, the
top of the lavas would be something like 12 Washington Monuments
above you," said James Head of Brown University, the lead author of
one of the papers.

Scientists also have discovered vents or openings measuring up to 16
miles (25 kilometers) across that appear to be the source of some of
the large volume of very hot lava that has rushed across Mercury's
surface carving valleys and creating teardrop-shaped ridges in the
underlying terrain.

New images reveal landforms on Mercury suggesting a previously
unrecognized geological process. Images of bright areas appear to be
small, shallow, irregularly shaped depressions. The science team
adopted the term "hollows" for these features to distinguish them
from other types of pits seen on Mercury. Hollows have been found
over a wide range of latitudes and longitudes, suggesting that they
are fairly common across Mercury.

"Analysis of the images and estimates of the rate at which the hollows
may be growing led to the conclusion that they could be actively
forming today," says David Blewett of the Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., lead author of one
of the reports.

Scientists also now have observations of the chemical composition of
Mercury's surface. The information is being used to test models of
Mercury's formation and further study the relationship between the
planet's tenuous atmosphere and surface makeup. Chemical measurements
reveal a higher abundance of potassium than previously predicted.

"These measurements indicate Mercury has a chemical composition more
similar to those of Venus, Earth, and Mars than expected," says APL's
Patrick Peplowski, lead author of one of the papers.

MESSENGER also has collected the first global observations of plasma
ions-- mostly sodium -- in Mercury's magnetosphere, the volume of
space near the planet dominated by Mercury's magnetic field. These
results reveal that Mercury's weak magnetosphere provides the planet
very little protection from the gusty solar wind, resulting is a very
hostile surface environment with extremes in space weather.

"We were able to observe the formation process of these ions, and it's
comparable to the manner by which auroras are generated in the
Earth's atmosphere near polar regions," said Thomas Zurbuchen of the
University of Michigan and lead author of one of the reports.

MESSENGER was designed and built by APL. The lab manages and operates
the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in
Washington. The mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed
for SMD by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala.

For more information about the mission visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/messenger 

       
-end-
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: dsmillman on 09/30/2011 08:05 pm
A replay of the teleconference can be heard in the U.S. at:

    800-839-2203

The replay will be available until about October 6.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 12/27/2011 10:08 am
MESSENGER 2011 - A Year in Review

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/pics/2011_Year_In_Review_final.jpg
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/04/2012 03:07 pm
Hollows on the Hills

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=727
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/05/2012 05:15 pm
Apollodorus and the Pantheon

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=726
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/07/2012 05:49 pm
Hooked on Tectonics

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=730
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/09/2012 08:35 pm
The Pit of Scarlatti

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=731
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/10/2012 01:15 pm
View of a Scarp

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=732
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/11/2012 02:30 pm
Inside Raditladi

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=734
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/12/2012 07:07 pm
Blanket of Hollows

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=733
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/13/2012 05:23 pm
Smooth Plains?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=736
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/16/2012 06:20 pm
The Cliffs of Raditladi

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=737
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/17/2012 05:52 pm
To Strive, To Seek, To Find, and Not To Yield

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=735
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/19/2012 10:48 am
Happy New Year! (Finally!) (First image from 2012)

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=729
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/20/2012 05:52 pm
Different Spokes

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=740
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/23/2012 05:32 pm
Paint It Black

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=744
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/24/2012 01:42 pm
The Blending of Art and Science

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=741
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/25/2012 04:51 pm
Ribbons and Chains

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=742
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 01/26/2012 02:06 am
Ribbons and Chains

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=742

Actually it looks like someone blasted the surface with a gun to 'carve their initials' :)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/27/2012 07:35 am
Smear Campaign

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=743
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/28/2012 11:58 am
Worlds Apart

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=738
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/30/2012 05:29 pm
Examining Eminescu

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=746
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 01/31/2012 03:04 pm
Living in Anonymity

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=747
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/01/2012 08:44 pm
Hollows or Horcruxes

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=748
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 02/01/2012 11:54 pm
Hollows or Horcruxes

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=748

Are you keeping any kind of global locational data for all these photos? It would be nice to be able to assemble them onto an appropriately sized globe of some kind.

Same comment for all the DAWN photos.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/02/2012 09:16 am
Hollows or Horcruxes

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=748

Are you keeping any kind of global locational data for all these photos? It would be nice to be able to assemble them onto an appropriately sized globe of some kind.

Same comment for all the DAWN photos.


I'm not currently. I could put together a google spreadsheet though going forward.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/02/2012 05:37 pm
Northern Lights

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=749
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/03/2012 12:45 pm
A Cubist's Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=751
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/06/2012 08:05 am
Software Enables Efficient Planning of MESSENGER Observations

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=194
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/06/2012 09:08 pm
Hovnatanian's Close-up

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=752
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/07/2012 05:43 pm
The Bright Rays of Xiao Zhao

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=753
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/09/2012 08:32 am
Hollows, Hollows, Hollows

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=754
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/09/2012 06:33 pm
From Terminator to Limb

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=755
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/10/2012 04:35 pm
Target Lock

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=756
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/13/2012 05:18 pm
Color Close-Up of Kuiper

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=757
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/14/2012 05:57 pm
Shakespeare for Valentine's Day

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=763
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/15/2012 06:06 pm
Say Aah!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=764
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/16/2012 02:38 pm
The Scarp in Rembrandt

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=766
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/17/2012 06:51 pm
Oh Amaral!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=765
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/20/2012 04:43 pm
Blue Degas

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=758
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/21/2012 06:42 pm
A Colorful Complex

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=759
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/22/2012 08:04 pm
Sprinkles of Blue

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=760
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/23/2012 01:31 pm
A Tale of Two Basins

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=761
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/24/2012 05:17 pm
A Lovely View

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=762
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/27/2012 04:17 pm
Less Than Zero

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=768
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/28/2012 05:59 pm
Explosive Allegations

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=767
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/29/2012 08:12 pm
As I mentioned over in the Dawn thread, I started keeping track of location data for these images.

You can see it here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtgDSxr4VJxudEZqSXctSlhpRkNiYWxzZURRa0dqYlE
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 02/29/2012 08:14 pm
Where the Craters Have No Name

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=770
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 02/29/2012 10:45 pm
Again - thank you!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/01/2012 06:05 pm
Uncovering a Dark Past

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=769
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/02/2012 01:03 pm
Moving in Stereo

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=771
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/05/2012 01:31 pm
Stay on Target...

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=772
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/06/2012 04:18 pm
Portrait of a Scarp

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=773
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/07/2012 12:54 pm
Rays the Roof

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=774
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/08/2012 05:24 pm
Rachmaninoff's Master Class

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=775
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/09/2012 02:21 pm
Singin' in Derain

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/pics/1377852.png
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/10/2012 10:30 am
The Solar Storm, at Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=777
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 03/10/2012 10:36 am
Wow. That is amazing!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 03/10/2012 01:36 pm
The Solar Storm, at Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=777

That's awesome! Looks like it's snowing on Mercury

Good spacecraft design to survive through that!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 03/10/2012 06:55 pm
Good spacecraft design to survive through that!

This isn't unprecedented and the majority of these hits don't cause permanent damage to the detector. SOHO used to witness a hailstorm of these hits on its CCDs every time a storm hit.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: kevin-rf on 03/10/2012 08:32 pm
SOHO used to
What is with the past tense?

She may be a little long in the tooth, but SOHO is still up and returning Realtime Solar Data. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/home.html

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 03/10/2012 08:50 pm
You're right, of course. Wrong choice of words on my part, what I meant to say was I used to see that often back when I was more actively following SOHO's realtime data (especially the latest MPEG movies).

Speaking of the SOHO movies, you really can see the same kind of particle hailstorm I was talking about in the recent Pick of The Week Movie http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/old/07mar2012/
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/12/2012 05:49 pm
Maximum Thrust

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=778
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/12/2012 07:27 pm
Mercury's Oddly Offset Magnetic Field

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/soc/highlights021512.html



MESSENGER Team Delivers Data from First Full Mercury Solar Day to Planetary Data System

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=196
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/13/2012 06:57 pm
Landslide!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=781
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/14/2012 01:54 pm
Deep Impact

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=782
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/15/2012 05:25 pm
A Crack in the Floor

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=780
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/16/2012 04:28 pm
Pit(ch) Black

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=779
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/19/2012 01:28 pm
First Image of MESSENGER's Extended Mission!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=784
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/20/2012 09:27 am
MESSENGER Completes Primary Mission at Mercury, Settles in for Another Year

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=197
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/20/2012 12:29 pm
New MESSENGER Results at LPSC: Caloris Tectonic Map

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=783
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/21/2012 08:04 pm
Permanent Shadows at Mercury's South Pole

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=789
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/21/2012 08:05 pm
Radar-bright Deposits near Mercury's North Pole

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=790
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/21/2012 08:06 pm
Mercury's Topography from MLA

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=788
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/21/2012 09:28 pm
MESSENGER Provides New Look at Mercury's Landscape, Metallic Core, and Polar Shadows

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=198
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: bolun on 03/22/2012 02:58 pm
Mercury poles give up hints of water ice

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17470151

Mercury has been 'dynamic world'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17248776
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/22/2012 07:27 pm
Highs and Lows of Goethe

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=792
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/22/2012 07:27 pm
Perspective View of Mercury's Topography

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=791
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Moe Grills on 03/22/2012 08:39 pm
Mercury poles give up hints of water ice

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17470151

Mercury has been 'dynamic world'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17248776

It 's been decades since Arecibo detected 'something' at the Mercury poles, best explained by frozen water.
What the papers and presentations at the LPSC2012 show is that MESSENGER's data adds support to that hypothesis. No slam-dunk yet
for the suggestion that water-ice exists there.
Maybe another theory will explain it.
  But...if you were to dig down 10-20 centimeters in those dark polar regions I wouldn't be too surprised if you struck frozen H20.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/24/2012 10:02 pm
MESSENGER Provides New Look at Mercury's surprising core and landscape curiosities

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/media/PressConf20120321.html
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/24/2012 10:03 pm
MESSENGER App Now Available

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=199
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/26/2012 02:18 pm
Hello Again, Hodgkins!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=798


(Wider Shot)
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?image_id=447
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/27/2012 02:55 pm
A Light Ray

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=801
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/28/2012 03:11 pm
Hodgkins in Color

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=802
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Bubbinski on 03/29/2012 04:02 am
A human base on the south pole of Mercury?  Maybe not but that is pretty exciting if confirmed.  Seems our probes are finding water ice in lots of places (Mercury, Mars, Enceladus, etc.).  Is it possible any airless moon with craters has the potential for water ice deposits?

Anyway thanks Aaron for posting the pictures from the probes.  Keeps me coming here to this section.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 03/29/2012 08:03 am
Seems our probes are finding water ice in lots of places (Mercury, Mars, Enceladus, etc.).

Hmm, how do I put this... All of Saturn's moons basically are nothing but ice a good way down to the core. Except that at those temperatures for all intents and purposes it behaves as rock.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: plutogno on 03/29/2012 08:07 am
Seems our probes are finding water ice in lots of places (Mercury, Mars, Enceladus, etc.). 

Ice on Mercury was discovered 20 years ago by ground-based radars, not by probes
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: ugordan on 03/29/2012 08:08 am
Ice on Mercury was discovered 20 years ago by ground-based radars, not by probes

That's stretching it. Radar-reflective stuff was discovered, not ice.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/29/2012 02:56 pm
Shadowed Terraces

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=803
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 03/30/2012 05:30 pm
Ride Along with the NAC

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=809
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/02/2012 12:24 pm
Forgot to post this yesterday.

They put out an Aprils fool post, they had me until the sample return part.

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=811
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/02/2012 02:33 pm
Blue Monday

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=810
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/03/2012 02:34 pm
I Walk the Line

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=808
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/03/2012 08:42 pm
Seems our probes are finding water ice in lots of places (Mercury, Mars, Enceladus, etc.).

Hmm, how do I put this... All of Saturn's moons basically are nothing but ice a good way down to the core. Except that at those temperatures for all intents and purposes it behaves as rock.
...Not just ice, but probably liquid water for much of Enceladus.

It's also possible that some of these moons are some sort of rock/ice mixture.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/04/2012 02:11 pm
Put on the Red Light

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=812
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/06/2012 01:21 pm
Cubist Cube

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=813
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/06/2012 01:23 pm
Well Donne

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=814
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/09/2012 01:15 pm
Welcome to Albedo Mapping!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=815
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/10/2012 01:59 pm
One-two Punch

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=817
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/11/2012 01:19 pm
The Southern Wall of Stravinsky

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=818
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/12/2012 03:54 pm
One Year of Spectral Mapping

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=816
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 04/12/2012 10:25 pm
One Year of Spectral Mapping

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=816

Very cool. Thank you.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/13/2012 04:06 pm
Easy as 1-2-3!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=819
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/16/2012 01:53 pm
The High-Incidence Campaign

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=822
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/17/2012 11:55 am
MESSENGER Adjusts Orbit for a Closer Look at Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=214
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/17/2012 02:51 pm
Sneek Peek at a Peak

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=823
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/18/2012 06:45 pm
Debussy (red), Debussy (green), Debussy (blue)

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=824
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/19/2012 02:54 pm
Mercury's Other Colors

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=825
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/20/2012 05:33 pm
As Goethe as It Gets

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=826
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/21/2012 10:03 am
MESSENGER Settles into Eight-Hour Orbit Around Mercury, Poised for New Discoveries

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=218
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/23/2012 07:42 pm
V for Victoria

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=827
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/24/2012 05:28 pm
Counting Caloris

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=830
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/25/2012 02:53 pm
Channel Vision

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=833
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/26/2012 04:33 pm
Spectral Web

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=832
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/27/2012 03:46 pm
Old and Wrinkly

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=834
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 04/30/2012 01:23 pm
Zeami's Zoo of Features

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=835
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/01/2012 05:00 pm
A Choreographer's Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=837
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/02/2012 03:07 pm
Revelations on Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=838
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/03/2012 01:35 pm
The Man Who Set Mercury to Music

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=839
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/04/2012 10:18 am
MESSENGER's Cameras Capture 100,000th Image from Mercury Orbit

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=220
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/04/2012 07:11 pm
$120 Million Buys an Awful Lot of Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=840
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/07/2012 02:20 pm
Fonteyn Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=841
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/08/2012 10:14 am
Nureyev Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=842
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/09/2012 01:20 pm
Abedin in Color

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=843
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/10/2012 02:36 pm
Filling the Gap

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=845
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/11/2012 05:23 pm
A Massive Peak

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=846
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/14/2012 04:12 pm
Song For Drella

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=836
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/15/2012 04:52 pm
But I'm a Creep

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=847
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/16/2012 02:20 pm
Blue Velvet

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=849
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/17/2012 02:25 pm
Pretty, Vacant

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=848
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/18/2012 01:57 pm
Creamed by Clots

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=850
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/21/2012 02:21 pm
It's All Mercury's Fault

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=851
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/22/2012 03:58 pm
MESSENGER Measures Waves at the Boundary of Mercury's Magnetosphere

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=223
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/22/2012 03:58 pm
It's a Complex World

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=852
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/23/2012 02:59 pm
The Land of Crater Chains

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=858
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/24/2012 04:49 pm
The Hollowed Halls of Tyagaraja

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=861
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/25/2012 03:00 pm
Bluebeard's Castle

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=854
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/28/2012 06:54 pm
Tyagaraja, and Zeami, and Sophocles! Oh My!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=859
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/29/2012 05:20 pm
Room for Two

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=857
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/30/2012 01:47 pm
The Forgotten Cezanne

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=860
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 05/31/2012 04:58 pm
Futabatei and Sullivan's Debut

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=862
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/01/2012 04:01 pm
Zooming in on Derain

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=863
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/04/2012 03:40 pm
Now You See Me...

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=864
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/05/2012 03:55 pm
Bashed Basho

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=865
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/06/2012 06:35 pm
The Floor Is Lava!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=866
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/07/2012 04:14 pm
Dario Basin: Complex Cross-cuts

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=867
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/08/2012 05:16 pm
Darkness Falls

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=869
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/11/2012 12:39 pm
Smooth Around the Edges

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=871
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/12/2012 03:46 pm
Snowmen on Mercury?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=872
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/13/2012 04:44 pm
Is this Crater Circular?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=873
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 06/13/2012 11:24 pm
Is this Crater Circular?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=873

My first impression was looking thru a hole into a lava tube.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/14/2012 06:16 pm
Rockin' Rachmaninoff

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=874
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/15/2012 01:43 pm
Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=876
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 06/15/2012 11:04 pm
Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!


That's awesome
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 06/17/2012 01:18 am
Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/18/2012 02:10 pm
Mercury's Kidney

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=877
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/19/2012 05:33 pm
Beautiful Geometry

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=878
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/20/2012 02:17 pm
Craters Down Under

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=879
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/21/2012 01:10 pm
Painting Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=880
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/22/2012 03:00 pm
What Does the Arrow Point To?

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=882
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/22/2012 03:01 pm
An Optical Illusion

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=883
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/25/2012 03:18 pm
Ms. Pacman Arrives on Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=881
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/28/2012 01:16 pm
The Wonder of the Age

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=885
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/28/2012 01:17 pm
A Crater with a Blueberry Center

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=884
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/28/2012 01:17 pm
Now Debuting: Balzac Crater!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=886
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 06/29/2012 04:36 pm
The Cutting Edge

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=887
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/02/2012 12:59 pm
A Shocking Discovery

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=888
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/03/2012 02:44 pm
Pit-iful!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=889
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 07/03/2012 04:23 pm
A Shocking Discovery

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=888

So hard to believe that is the same location! Amazing depth detail.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/04/2012 01:16 pm
The Stars and Stripes Forever

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=890
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/05/2012 02:06 pm
A Crater's World

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=893
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/06/2012 04:12 pm
Groundhog Day

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=892
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/09/2012 04:04 pm
The Beauty of Balanchine

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=895
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/10/2012 02:58 pm
On Hole-y Ground

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=897
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/11/2012 06:45 pm
Rays a Long Way from Home

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=900
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/12/2012 02:54 pm
A Light & Dark Duo

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=899
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/13/2012 04:18 pm
The Bubble Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=901
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/16/2012 02:38 pm
The Knight in the Panther's Skin

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=896
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/17/2012 05:21 pm
Hasta La Vista, Baby!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=903
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/18/2012 07:54 pm
A Dramatic Peak

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=906
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/19/2012 04:59 pm
The Many Colors of Mercury

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=908
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/20/2012 04:12 pm
Twin Craters: Holberg & Spitteler

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=910
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/24/2012 01:47 pm
Ghost in the Darkness

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=914
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/25/2012 01:04 pm
Craters Young and Old

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=915
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/26/2012 02:29 pm
Making Mountains Out of Central Peaks

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=904
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/27/2012 04:28 pm
Bartok's Symphony

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=924
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/30/2012 01:34 pm
Following the Family Pasch

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=922
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 07/31/2012 01:05 pm
Brushstrokes

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=917
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/01/2012 04:31 pm
Xiao Zhao Close Up

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=929
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/02/2012 02:10 pm
Compositional Medley

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=918
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/03/2012 04:17 pm
A Portrait of Copley Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=927
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/06/2012 12:20 pm
Death of the (Colorful) Poet

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=925
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/07/2012 02:56 pm
On the Edge

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/pics/EN0235555643M.map.jpg
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/08/2012 09:43 am
Small and Dramatic

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=930
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/09/2012 12:38 pm
Mozart's Composition

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=909
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/09/2012 07:06 pm
Nine New Names in the North!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=936
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/10/2012 06:47 pm
The Super Position

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=935
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/13/2012 02:36 pm
A Diamond in the Rough

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=926
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/14/2012 04:34 pm
Changes in Progress

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=920
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/15/2012 07:53 pm
Blue and Rayed

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=931
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/16/2012 01:13 pm
On the Bright Side

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=907
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/17/2012 05:44 pm
Peak-Ringed Renoir

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=939
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/20/2012 03:40 pm
Comma for Your Thoughts

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=933
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/21/2012 04:05 pm
Hermean AdVENTure!

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=934
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/22/2012 08:07 pm
Inside a Crater

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=932
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/24/2012 05:04 pm
Complexity

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=938
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/27/2012 01:34 pm
Perfect Hit

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=940
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/28/2012 01:19 pm
It's Not Just a Good Idea, It's the Law

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=941
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/29/2012 01:08 pm
Looking Into the Dark

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=942
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: racshot65 on 08/30/2012 03:11 pm
Cat's Eye

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=943
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 11/26/2012 06:36 pm
MEDIA ADVISORY: M12-219

NASA HOSTS NOV. 29 NEWS CONFERENCE ABOUT MERCURY POLAR REGIONS

WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on
Thursday, Nov, 29, to reveal new observations from the first
spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. The briefing will be held in
the NASA Headquarters auditorium, located at 300 E St. SW in
Washington.

Science Journal has embargoed details until 2 p.m. on Nov. 29. The
news conference will be carried live on NASA Television and the
agency's website.

NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging,
or MESSENGER spacecraft has been studying Mercury in unprecedented
detail since its historic arrival there in March 2011.

The news conference participants are:

-     Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA
Headquarters, Washington
-     Sean Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator, Lamont-Doherty
Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.
-     David Lawrence, MESSENGER Participating Scientist, The Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
-     Gregory Neumann, Mercury Laser Altimeter Instrument Scientist,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
-     David Paige, MESSENGER Participating Scientist, University of
California, Los Angeles

Journalists may attend the briefing in-person, ask questions from
participating NASA locations and join by phone or via Twitter using
the hashtag #askNASA.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA's MESSENGER mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: JimO on 11/26/2012 07:27 pm
is it ice?

Whether or not there are trapped volatiles, some of those shaded craters are thought to be colder than Pluto.

This may be a real treat!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Star One on 11/29/2012 06:18 pm
Yes it is ice.

Quote
The ice — whose long-suspected presence1 has now been confirmed by NASA's orbiting MESSENGER probe — seems to be much purer than ice inside similar craters on Earth's Moon, suggesting that the closest planet to the Sun could be a better trap for icy materials delivered by comets and asteroids.

http://www.nature.com/news/stores-of-ice-confirmed-on-sun-scorched-mercury-1.11922

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 11/29/2012 06:31 pm
RELEASE: 12-411

NASA SPACECRAFT FINDS NEW EVIDENCE FOR WATER ICE ON MERCURY

WASHINGTON -- A NASA spacecraft studying Mercury has provided
compelling support for the long-held hypothesis the planet harbors
abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials within its
permanently shadowed polar craters.

The new information comes from NASA's MErcury Surface, Space
ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft. Its
onboard instruments have been studying Mercury in unprecedented
detail since its historic arrival there in March 2011. Scientists are
seeing clearly for the first time a chapter in the story of how the
inner planets, including Earth, acquired their water and some of the
chemical building blocks for life.

"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if
spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., would be more than
2 miles thick," said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating
scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
(APL) in Laurel, Md., and lead author of one of three papers
describing the findings. The papers were published online in
Thursday's edition of Science Express.

Spacecraft instruments completed the first measurements of excess
hydrogen at Mercury's north pole, made the first measurements of the
reflectivity of Mercury's polar deposits at near-infrared
wavelengths, and enabled the first detailed models of the surface and
near-surface temperatures of Mercury's north polar regions.

Given its proximity to the sun, Mercury would seem to be an unlikely
place to find ice. However, the tilt of Mercury's rotational axis is
less than 1 degree, and as a result, there are pockets at the
planet's poles that never see sunlight.

Scientists suggested decades ago there might be water ice and other
frozen volatiles trapped at Mercury's poles. The idea received a
boost in 1991 when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico
detected radar-bright patches at Mercury's poles. Many of these
patches corresponded to the locations of large impact craters mapped
by NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft in the 1970s. However, because
Mariner saw less than 50 percent of the planet, planetary scientists
lacked a complete diagram of the poles to compare with the radar
images.

Images from the spacecraft taken in 2011 and earlier this year
confirmed all radar-bright features at Mercury's north and south
poles lie within shadowed regions on the planet's surface. These
findings are consistent with the water ice hypothesis.

The new observations from MESSENGER support the idea that ice is the
major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits. These
measurements also reveal ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest
of those deposits, but buried beneath unusually dark material across
most of the deposits. In the areas where ice is buried, temperatures
at the surface are slightly too warm for ice to be stable.

MESSENGER's neutron spectrometer provides a measure of average
hydrogen concentrations within Mercury's radar-bright regions. Water
ice concentrations are derived from the hydrogen measurements.

"We estimate from our neutron measurements the water ice lies beneath
a layer that has much less hydrogen. The surface layer is between 10
and 20 centimeters [4-8 inches] thick," Lawrence said.

Additional data from detailed topography maps compiled by the
spacecraft corroborate the radar results and neutron measurements of
Mercury's polar region. In a second paper by Gregory Neumann of
NASA's Goddard Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., measurements of the
shadowed north polar regions reveal irregular dark and bright
deposits at near-infrared wavelength near Mercury's north pole.

"Nobody had seen these dark regions on Mercury before, so they were
mysterious at first," Neumann said.

The spacecraft recorded dark patches with diminished reflectance,
consistent with the theory that ice in those areas is covered by a
thermally insulating layer. Neumann suggests impacts of comets or
volatile-rich asteroids could have provided both the dark and bright
deposits, a finding corroborated in a third paper led by David Paige
of the University of California at Los Angeles.

"The dark material is likely a mix of complex organic compounds
delivered to Mercury by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich
asteroids, the same objects that likely delivered water to the
innermost planet," Paige said.

This dark insulating material is a new wrinkle to the story, according
to MESSENGER principal investigator Sean Solomon of Columbia
University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.

"For more than 20 years, the jury has been deliberating whether the
planet closest to the sun hosts abundant water ice in its permanently
shadowed polar regions," Solomon said. "MESSENGER now has supplied a
unanimous affirmative verdict."

MESSENGER was designed and built by APL. The lab manages and operates
the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The
mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed for the
directorate by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala.

For more information about the Mercury mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: John44 on 11/29/2012 08:19 pm
NASA MESSENGER News Conference - November 29
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7966
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 11/30/2012 01:52 am
Yes it is ice.

Quote
The ice — whose long-suspected presence1 has now been confirmed by NASA's orbiting MESSENGER probe — seems to be much purer than ice inside similar craters on Earth's Moon, suggesting that the closest planet to the Sun could be a better trap for icy materials delivered by comets and asteroids.

http://www.nature.com/news/stores-of-ice-confirmed-on-sun-scorched-mercury-1.11922



Fantastic.

Always good to know where you can fill up your canteen. :)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 11/30/2012 04:19 am
News feature: 2012-378                                                                    Nov. 29, 2012

NASA Spacecraft Finds New Evidence for Water Ice on Mercury

 

The full version of this story with accompanying images is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-378&cid=release_2012-378

PASADENA, Calif. -- Instruments aboard NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft studying the planet Mercury have provided compelling support for the long-held hypothesis the planet harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials within its permanently shadowed polar craters.

"About the last thing you would expect on a planet so close to the sun is water ice," said Matthew Siegler, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and an author on one of three papers published today in Science Express. "But due to Mercury's low tilt, craters near the poles can remain in year-round shadow and be ridiculously cold."

Scientists suggested decades ago there might be water ice and other frozen volatiles trapped at Mercury's poles. The idea received a boost in 1991 when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico detected radar-bright patches at Mercury's poles. Many of these patches corresponded to the locations of large impact craters mapped by NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft in the 1970s. However, because Mariner saw less than 50 percent of the planet, planetary scientists lacked a complete diagram of the poles to compare with the radar images.

Images taken from MESSENGER in 2011, and earlier this year, confirmed all radar-bright features at Mercury's north and south poles lie within shadowed regions on the planet's surface. These findings are consistent with the water ice hypothesis.

"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., would be more than 2 miles thick," said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., lead author of one of the three papers describing the findings.

The new observations from MESSENGER support the idea that ice is the major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits. These measurements also reveal ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest of those deposits, but buried beneath unusually dark material across most of the deposits. In the areas where ice is buried, temperatures at the surface are slightly too warm for ice to be stable.

"Everywhere on Mercury we predict it's cold enough that there could be ice, Messenger finds bright deposits," said Siegler. "Where it is slightly warmer, and where ice should only be stable underground, we find a dark material, darker than anything else we've seen on Mercury."

The dark material is likely a mix of complex organic compounds delivered to Mercury by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids, the same objects that likely delivered water to the innermost planet.

A composite image of the discovery is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/multimedia/PressConf20121126_2.html

MESSENGER was designed and built by the Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. The lab manages and operates the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed for the directorate by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
[email protected]
818-393-9011

2012-378

- end -
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: rusty on 03/08/2014 12:05 pm
Some fundamental relativity and quantum theory questions I recently eluded to in another thread;

What is the time dilation aboard Messenger (how fast its clock ticks) compared with before launch?
Has its communication frequency been altered with proximity to the Sun's gravitational well?
Are spectrographic observations (red/blue shift) of the Sun or stars different than those near Earth?

-- Are any of these questions answerable and could/will the information become available? Thank you.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 08/01/2014 07:49 pm
MESSENGER Flies Over Mercury

Published on Aug 1, 2014
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft captured this video during a flyover of Mercury's north pole on June 8, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSOv0-iWWwQ
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: veblen on 10/15/2014 09:30 pm
Mercury ice younger than lunar ice? Estimate of ice at Mercury's poles comparable in volume to water in Lake Ontario.


http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/early/2014/10/14/G35916.1.full.pdf+html?ijkey=rxQlFflgdo/rY&keytype=ref&siteid=gsgeology (http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/early/2014/10/14/G35916.1.full.pdf+html?ijkey=rxQlFflgdo/rY&keytype=ref&siteid=gsgeology)



 
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 04/14/2015 02:02 pm
NASA to Celebrate MESSENGER Mission Prior to Surface Impact of Mercury

http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/april/nasa-to-celebrate-messenger-mission-prior-to-surface-impact-of-mercury/

April 13, 2015
MEDIA ADVISORY M15-059

NASA will hold a media and public event at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 16, to share scientific findings and technical accomplishments of the agency’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft.

After more than 10 years in space, the highly successful mission will come to an end when it is expected to collide into Mercury at a speed of more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 km/sec) near the end of this month.
The event will take place in the NASA Headquarters' James E. Webb Auditorium, 300 E Street, S.W., Washington, and will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER traveled 4.9 billion miles (7.9 billion kilometers) - a journey that included 15 trips around the sun and flybys of Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury three times - before it was inserted into orbit around its target planet in March 2011. The spacecraft's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments have collected unprecedented images and made other observations. Mission managers are preparing to impact Mercury’ surface in the next couple weeks.

Participants will include:
 
James Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington

Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator; director, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York

Helene Winters, MESSENGER project manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

Daniel O’Shaughnessy, MESSENGER systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

To participate by phone, reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or [email protected] and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Thursday April 16. Media and the public also may ask questions during the event via Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about the mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
-end-

Artist concept of the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around planet Mercury.
Image Credit: NASA
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: the_other_Doug on 04/14/2015 03:18 pm
After more than 10 years in space, the highly successful mission will come to an end when it is expected to collide into Mercury at a speed of more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 km/sec) near the end of this month.

The event will take place in the NASA Headquarters' James E. Webb Auditorium, 300 E Street, S.W., Washington, and will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Two thoughts:

First -- remind me to stay well away from E Street on that day -- I want to be well clear of any ejecta from the impact!

Second -- is there any way we can invite certain select members of Congress to this event?

:D  :D  :D
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 04/14/2015 05:23 pm
Sky and Telescope recently web-published a very good article about recent MESSENGER investigations and end-of-mission.  It followed a press briefing on March 16.
Messenger Reveals Mercury Mysteries
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/messenger-mercury-mysteries-03172015/ (http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/messenger-mercury-mysteries-03172015/)

(S&T is still one of my primary sources of astronomical information and updates.  Years ago, I used to read both it and Astronomy magazine every month as soon as they were delivered.)
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 04/16/2015 08:17 pm

April 16, 2015


NASA Spacecraft Achieves Unprecedented Success Studying Mercury

After extraordinary science findings and technological innovations, a NASA spacecraft launched in 2004 to study Mercury will impact the planet’s surface, most likely on April 30, after it runs out of propellant.

NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft will impact the planet at more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 kilometers per second) on the side of the planet facing away from Earth. Due to the expected location, engineers will be unable to view in real time the exact location of impact.

On Tuesday, mission operators in mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, completed the fourth in a series of orbit correction maneuvers designed to delay the spacecraft’s impact into the surface of Mercury. The last maneuver is scheduled for Friday, April 24.

"Following this last maneuver, we will finally declare the spacecraft out of propellant, as this maneuver will deplete nearly all of our remaining helium gas,” said Daniel O’Shaughnessy, mission systems engineer at APL. “At that point, the spacecraft will no longer be capable of fighting the downward push of the sun's gravity.”

Although Mercury is one of Earth’s nearest planetary neighbors, little was known about the planet prior to the MESSENGER mission.

“For the first time in history we now have real knowledge about the planet Mercury that shows it to be a fascinating world as part of our diverse solar system,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “While spacecraft operations will end, we are celebrating MESSENGER as more than a successful mission. It’s the beginning of a longer journey to analyze the data that reveals all the scientific mysteries of Mercury.”

The spacecraft traveled more than six and a half years before it was inserted into orbit around Mercury on March 18, 2011. The prime mission was to orbit the planet and collect data for one Earth year. The spacecraft’s healthy instruments, remaining fuel, and new questions raised by early findings resulted in two approved operations extensions, allowing the mission to continue for almost four years and resulting in more scientific firsts.

One key science finding in 2012 provided compelling support for the hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant frozen water and other volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.

Data indicated the ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, would be more than two miles thick. For the first time, scientists began seeing clearly a chapter in the story of how the inner planets, including Earth, acquired water and some of the chemical building blocks for life.

A dark layer covering most of the water ice deposits supports the theory that organic compounds,  as well as water, were delivered from the outer solar system to the inner planets and may have led to prebiotic chemical synthesis and, thusly, life on Earth.

“The water now stored in ice deposits in the permanently shadowed floors of impact craters at Mercury’s poles most likely was delivered to the innermost planet by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids,” said Sean Solomon, the mission’s principal investigator, and director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. “Those same impacts also likely delivered the dark organic material.”

In addition to science discoveries, the mission provided many technological firsts, including the development of a vital heat-resistant and highly reflective ceramic cloth sunshade that isolated the spacecraft’s instruments and electronics from direct solar radiation – vital to mission success given Mercury’s proximity to the sun. The technology will help inform future designs for planetary missions within our solar system.

“The front side of the sunshade routinely experienced temperatures in excess of 300° Celsius (570° Fahrenheit), whereas the majority of components in its shadow routinely operated near room temperature (20°C or 68°F),” said Helene Winters, mission project manager at APL. “This technology to protect the spacecraft’s instruments was a key to mission success during its prime and extended operations.”

The spacecraft was designed and built by APL. The lab manages and operates the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed for the directorate by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

For a complete listing of science findings and technological achievements of the mission visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 04/16/2015 08:22 pm
NASA Celebrates MESSENGER Mission Prior to Surface Impact on Planet Mercury

Published on Apr 16, 2015
NASA held a panel discussion media on Thursday, April 16, to share scientific findings and technical accomplishments of the agency’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft.

After more than 10 years in space, the highly successful mission will come to an end when it is expected to collide into planet Mercury at a speed of more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 km/sec) near the end of this month.

Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER traveled 4.9 billion miles (7.9 billion kilometers) - a journey that included 15 trips around the sun and flybys of Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury three times - before it was inserted into orbit around its target planet in March 2011. The spacecraft's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments have collected unprecedented images and made other observations. Mission managers are preparing to impact Mercury’ surface in the next couple weeks.

Participants featured were:

· James Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington
· Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator; director, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York
· Helene Winters, MESSENGER project manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
· Daniel O’Shaughnessy, MESSENGER systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCclu4c9Yk4
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 04/19/2015 04:32 am
Before Messenger crashes on Mercury, NASA bids spacecraft farewell

By: By AMINA KHAN LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-messenger-mercury-nasa-spacecraft-crash-20150416-story.html

Quote
The most important of the discoveries, ....: that Mercury was surprisingly high in volatile elements, including potassium, sulfur, sodium and chlorine. Scientists had not expected this planet to be so high in these elements, which are thought to be among the first to escape a planet, particularly when it's so close to the sun.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 04/30/2015 04:57 pm
Overview of MESSENGER Spacecraft's Impact Region on Mercury

On April 30th, this region of Mercury's surface will have a new crater! Traveling at 3.91 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour), the MESSENGER spacecraft will collide with Mercury's surface, creating a crater estimated to be 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter.

The large, 400-kilometer-diameter (250-mile-diameter), impact basin "Shakespeare" occupies the bottom left quarter of this image, acquired by the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instruments aboard the spacecraft. The image is coded by topography. The tallest regions are colored red and are roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) higher than low-lying areas such as the floors of impact craters, colored blue. The large crater on the left side of the image is "Janacek," with a diameter of 48 kilometers (30 miles). The Shakespeare impact basin is filled with smooth plains material, likely due to extensive lava flooding in the past. As of 24 hours before the impact, the current best estimates predict that the spacecraft will strike a ridge slightly to the northeast of Shakespeare. View this image to see more details of the predicted impact site and time.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015.

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

http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/overview-of-messenger-spacecrafts-impact-region-on-mercury
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/30/2015 06:01 pm
I can't find any references to some sort of live webcast for this (I know it would likely be some show from JPL, not much more) but if anyone sees something, please post - and we'll have a live thread for this.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: redliox on 04/30/2015 07:20 pm
I can't find any references to some sort of live webcast for this (I know it would likely be some show from JPL, not much more) but if anyone sees something, please post - and we'll have a live thread for this.

Yeah I know today is supposed to be MESSENGER's last day.  I'm surprised it's almost mum news-wise.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: RLA on 04/30/2015 07:26 pm
I can't find any references to some sort of live webcast for this (I know it would likely be some show from JPL, not much more) but if anyone sees something, please post - and we'll have a live thread for this.

Yeah I know today is supposed to be MESSENGER's last day.  I'm surprised it's almost mum news-wise.
Same here, there is really nowhere so far I know a real live webcast.

Also, MESSENGER should be impacted around this time, goodbye MESSENGER  :(
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/30/2015 11:26 pm
An article using Chris Gebhardt coverage of some of its final achievements:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/messenger-ends-mercury-adventure-bang/
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: catdlr on 05/01/2015 01:38 am
Fire and Ice: A MESSENGER Recap

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/30apr_messenger/

Quote
Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have confirmed that MESSENGER slammed into the surface of Mercury on April 30th at 3:26 p.m. EDT. It had used the last of its propellant on April 24th and could no longer maintain a stable orbit. Traveling some 8,750 mph, the plummeting spacecraft made an unseen crater on the side of the planet facing away from Earth.

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: robertross on 05/01/2015 02:17 am
Farewell MESSENGER, and thanks for the great science!

A shout out of thanks to the teams working this spacecraft, those at the receiving stations, and the scientists & workers collecting and analyzing the data. It's so awesome to explore the planets & bodies we so rarely frequent.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: mheney on 05/01/2015 03:22 pm
I've got a question (and I don't see a discussion thread for this ...)

What causes MESSENGER's orbit about Mercury to decay?  My guess is something similar
to lunar mascons where the shape of the orbit changes until the perapsis intersects
the surface.  But I wouldn't call that "decay" ....
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 05/01/2015 03:40 pm
I've got a question (and I don't see a discussion thread for this ...)

What causes MESSENGER's orbit about Mercury to decay?  My guess is something similar
to lunar mascons where the shape of the orbit changes until the perapsis intersects
the surface.  But I wouldn't call that "decay" ....

Solar gravitational forces.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: clongton on 05/01/2015 03:43 pm
Goodbye Messenger. You had an incredible run and provided some amazing science. I will miss the periodic reports of your mission. Mercury has been an interesting place for me since I was a boy. I am saddened to know that the planet is once again alone.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: jacqmans on 06/15/2015 03:22 pm
To the human eye, Mercury may resemble a dull, grey orb but this enhanced-colour image from NASA’s Messenger probe, tells a completely different story. Swathes of iridescent blue, sandy-coloured plains and delicate strands of greyish white, create an ethereal and colourful view of our Solar System’s innermost planet.

These contrasting colours have been chosen to emphasise the differences in the composition of the landscape across the planet. The darker regions exhibit low-reflectance material, particularly for light at redder wavelengths. As a result, these regions take on a bluer cast.

The criss-crossing streaks across the disc of the planet show up in shades of light blue, grey and white. These regions take on a light blue hue for a different reason: their youthfulness. As material is exposed to the harsh space environment around Mercury it darkens, but these pale ‘rays’ are formed from material excavated from beneath the planet’s surface and sent flying during comparatively recent impacts. For this reason, they have retained their youthful glow.

The yellowish, tan-coloured regions are “intermediate terrain”. Mercury also hosts brighter and smoother terrain known as high-reflectance red plains. One example can be seen towards the upper right, where there is a prominent patch that is roughly circular. This is the Caloris basin, an impact crater thought to have been created by an asteroid collision during the Solar System’s early days.

On 30 April this year, Messenger’s four-year stint in orbit around Mercury came to an end when the probe ploughed into the surface. Messenger was launched in 2004 and in 2011 became the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury. It ended up exceeding its planned mission timeline by three years, by which time the spacecraft had completely depleted its fuel. The last of the fuel was used to position it within the gravitational pull of Mercury and the Sun, so it could delay as long as possible its inevitable plummet towards the surface – while continuing to beam back images – and go out with a bang.

The investigation of mysterious Mercury will be continued by ESA’s BepiColombo, due for launch in 2017. BepiColombo, a mission in partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), comprises two orbiters, ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, which will reach Mercury together in 2024. BepiColombo aims to gain an in-depth view of our Solar System’s least-explored terrestrial planet.

Credit: NASA / JHU Applied Physics Lab / Carnegie Inst. Washington
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 01/18/2018 07:45 pm
NASA team studies middle-aged Sun by tracking motion of Mercury (https://phys.org/news/2018-01-nasa-team-middle-aged-sun-tracking.html) (Phys.org)

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... the Sun's gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury's orbit.
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The study began by improving Mercury's charted ephemeris—the road map of the planet's position in our sky over time. For that, the team drew on radio tracking data that monitored the location of NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft while the mission was active.

Old missions never really die!
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Star One on 04/17/2019 08:54 pm
 Scientists find evidence Mercury has a solid inner core (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/agu-sfe041719.php)

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Scientists have long known that Earth and Mercury have metallic cores. Like Earth, Mercury's outer core is composed of liquid metal, but there have only been hints that Mercury's innermost core is solid. Now, in a new study, scientists report evidence that Mercury's inner core is indeed solid and that it is very nearly the same size as Earth's solid inner core.

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To figure out what Mercury's core is made of, Genova and his colleagues had to get, figuratively, closer. The team used several observations from NASA's MESSENGER mission to probe Mercury's interior. The researchers looked, most importantly, at the planet's spin and gravity.

Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 04/19/2019 07:51 pm
I'm surprised Mercury still has a molten core, given its small size. I read speculations that Mars' core has frozen solid, yet Mars has three times the volume of Mercury. Perhaps its a consequence of the planet's bulk composition and that Mars had a smaller core to start with?
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: Zed_Noir on 04/21/2019 04:30 am
I'm surprised Mercury still has a molten core, given its small size. I read speculations that Mars' core has frozen solid, yet Mars has three times the volume of Mercury. Perhaps its a consequence of the planet's bulk composition and that Mars had a smaller core to start with?

I speculate that the tidal effects from orbiting close to the Sun adds energy to Mercury's core keeping it molten.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: redliox on 04/21/2019 08:24 pm
Another factor is Mars, chemically, might be significantly different from the other inner planets.  This might be a result of Jupiter disrupting its formation or otherwise lighter materials being more dominant.  Mercury is more akin to Earth than Mars internally.
Title: Re: NASA- MESSENGER updates
Post by: CuddlyRocket on 04/22/2019 10:16 am
I'm surprised Mercury still has a molten core, given its small size. I read speculations that Mars' core has frozen solid, yet Mars has three times the volume of Mercury. Perhaps its a consequence of the planet's bulk composition and that Mars had a smaller core to start with?

I speculate that the tidal effects from orbiting close to the Sun adds energy to Mercury's core keeping it molten.

Possibly. From what I can gather, tidal heating is proportional to (radius)^5 x (1/orbital period)^5 x (eccentricity)^2. Compared to Mars, Mercury would have (2440/3390)^5 x (687/87)^5 x (0.21/0.0934)^2 more tidal heating or about 30,000 times if my arithmetic is up to the task!