Updates MESSENGER Mission News

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No, please tell....

N.
 

Notebook

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Aargh! Well spotted.

N.
 

N_Molson

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I'm not sure they should do things like that, it could be used by people like Moon-hoaxers... :dry:
 

Zachstar

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I'm not sure they should do things like that, it could be used by people like Moon-hoaxers... :dry:
Moon hoaxers do good for NASA in comparison to admins who want to push pork filled projects as policy or a congress eager to gut budgets.

Atleast the hoaxers get people talking about space instead of Lady Gaga.. If for a few minutes :cheers:
 

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I think most folk who follow things like this would apreciate the houmour, irratating I missed it though!
 

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MESSENGER Mission News

April 19, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Mercury’s Exosphere: A Brief Overview



One of the primary science goals of MESSENGER is to study Mercury’s very thin atmosphere, or exosphere. Although observations of the exosphere from orbit have begun, these data must be carefully calibrated, and analysis is still underway. In the meantime, go online to http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/soc/highlights.html for a primer on Mercury’s exosphere: what it is, how we observe it, and why it is important.




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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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MESSENGER Mission News

April 26, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Profiling Polar Craters with the Mercury Laser Altimeter



MESSENGER’s Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) will measure the topography or surface relief of the northern hemisphere of Mercury. That data will be used to create topographic maps, which will help characterize the geologic history of the planet. One of the most important tasks for MLA is to measure the depths of craters that are near Mercury’s north pole. In the latest “Science Highlights from Mercury’s Orbit,” MESSENGER’s Geophysics discipline group explains why.
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/soc/highlights.html

The laser sends pulses separated in time by about one-eighth of a second and provides measurements that are usually spaced about 600 meters (about 660 yards) apart on the surface
Nice to see they are using Imperial Units on Mercury...oh dear.


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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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MESSENGER Mission News

May 3, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Measuring Mercury’s Surface Composition



MESSENGER carries a Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS) capable of measuring and characterizing gamma-ray emissions from the surface of Mercury. Gamma rays coming from Mercury carry information about the concentrations of elements present on its surface, and observations from the GRS are being used to determine the surface composition of the planet. Read more to see how these results will be applied to studying the formation and geologic history of Mercury.

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

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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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MESSENGER Mission News

May 10, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu
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The Imaging Campaigns of MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System


As the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury, MESSENGER has the opportunity to make many observations of the Solar System's innermost planet that had not previously been possible. MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) — composed of a wide-angle camera and a narrow-angle camera — is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images during the one-year orbital mission in support of MESSENGER's science goals.
Click
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/soc/highlights.html
to read about how MDIS’s imaging campaign will help scientists learn more about the geologic history of Mercury.


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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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Wishbone

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Yes: gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, X-ray spectrometer, UV and visible spectrometer, IR and visible spectrograph. Is as good as one can get without crashing bombs/projectiles into the surface or actually landing.
 

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MESSENGER Mission News

May 18, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Measuring Mercury's Magnetic Field

MESSENGER carries a sensitive Magnetometer to measure Mercury's small magnetic field. Read more about the challenges of mapping the planet's magnetic field in this week's science release.

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


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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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And more news:
MESSENGER Mission News

May 31, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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Mercury’s Surface: The Role of Space Weathering

Accounting for the effects of the space environment on spectral and geochemical measurements of Mercury’s surface is important in understanding the composition of the planet’s crust and its evolution. Read more about the effects of space weathering in this week’s science release.

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

Also, should you start a sentence with and?
 

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NASA:
June 10, 2011​
MEDIA ADVISORY : M11-119
NASA Releasing First Ever Spacecraft Orbital Views Of Mercury



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

{...}
 

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MESSENGER Mission News
June 13, 2011
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/


MESSENGER Endures Its First Hot Season

Yesterday the MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed the first of four “hot seasons” expected to occur during its one-year primary mission in orbit about Mercury. During these hot seasons, the Sun-facing side of the probe’s sunshade can reach temperatures as high as 350°C.

These hot conditions are the result of two concurrent circumstances, says MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. “Mercury is in an eccentric orbit, and its distance from the Sun varies over 88 days, from 43,689,229 miles to 28,816,300 miles,” he explains. “On May 13, Mercury began heading closer to the Sun in its orbit. The planet reached its closest distance from the Sun on June 12.”

The second contributor to this heat is the geometry of MESSENGER’s orbit relative to the hot dayside of Mercury. The spacecraft is in a highly eccentric orbit around the planet, approaching to within 310 miles of the surface every 12 hours.

“During this hot period, the closest point of approach of the spacecraft to Mercury’s surface occurs on the sunlit side of the planet, so for almost one hour per orbit the spacecraft must pass between the Sun on one side and the hot dayside surface of the planet on the other,” Finnegan says. “To add further extremes, this season is also when the spacecraft passes over the nightside of the planet at high elevations and experiences the longest solar eclipses of the mission. During this period, when eclipses last as long as 62 minutes per orbit, the solar arrays are not illuminated and the spacecraft must derive its power from its internal battery.”

High temperatures are always a risk to mechanical and electronic systems, and the geometry of this portion of the orbit severely constrains the ability of the spacecraft to cool itself by radiating heat to cold space. MESSENGER engineers have taken several steps to ensure that the spacecraft remains safe.

“We rotated the solar arrays off the Sun through some of the hottest points so they do not have a view to either the Sun or the hot, dayside surface of the planet,” Finnegan says. “We are power cycling some of the more sensitive instruments to reduce their internal heat dissipation. In a manner similar to the treatment of the solar arrays, we are also adjusting the attitude of the spacecraft to keep some of the more sensitive parts of the spacecraft from seeing the hottest parts of the planet’s surface.”

All of the instruments have been operating during this period. Finnegan says that there have been times during each orbit when instruments are turned off, however, mostly to conserve power during eclipses.

These conditions are expected to recur approximately every 88 days (i.e., the time it takes Mercury to orbit the Sun). MESSENGER can therefore look forward to three more hot seasons during the course of its primary mission.

{...}
 

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MESSENGER Mission News

June 15, 2011

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu




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MESSENGER Adjusts Its Orbit around Mercury



The MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed its first orbit-correction maneuver today to reset its periapsis altitude — the lowest point of MESSENGER’s orbit about Mercury relative to the planet’s surface — from 506 kilometers to approximately 200 kilometers.



MESSENGER was 198 million kilometers (123 million miles) from Earth when the maneuver began at 3:40 p.m. EDT. Mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., verified the start of the maneuver about 10 minutes, 58 seconds later, when the first signals indicating spacecraft thruster activity reached NASA’s Deep Space Network tracking station outside Goldstone, California.



This is the first of five maneuvers planned for the primary orbital phase of the mission to keep orbital parameters within desired ranges for optimal science observations. The spacecraft’s main rocket engine fired for only 15 seconds of the total maneuver duration of 2 minutes and 52 seconds. MESSENGER’s orbital velocity was changed by a total of 28 m/s to make the corrections essential for continuing the planned measurement campaigns.



“The orbit that the spacecraft follows around the planet slowly changes as time goes by,” explained APL’s James Hudson, lead guidance and control engineer for the MESSENGER mission operations team. “Because of Mercury’s proximity to the Sun and MESSENGER’s highly eccentric orbit, solar gravity has a strong effect on the spacecraft’s orbit, particularly periapsis altitude.”



MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, of APL, said that the team was well prepared for the maneuver and everything proceeded as expected. “Initial data from the burn indicate nominal maneuver execution. MESSENGER’s orbital trajectory around Mercury has now been reset to continue our in-depth exploration of the innermost planet.”




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MESSENGER Completes First Mercury Year in Orbit

On June 13, MESSENGER completed its first Mercury year (88 Earth days – the time it takes Mercury to make one revolution around the Sun) in orbit about the innermost planet. The spacecraft has three more Mercury years to go during the primary science phase of the mission.



The spacecraft celebrated this milestone at the tail end of a four-day superior solar conjunction — the tenth since launch — during which the spacecraft was on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth. Throughout that time, reliable communication between the spacecraft and mission operators at APL was not possible because of interference from the Sun’s hot plasma, but telemetry received once MESSENGER came out of conjunction on June 14 confirmed that the spacecraft and all of its systems continue to operate nominally.



MESSENGER’s instruments are providing a wealth of new information about the planet closest to the Sun. Tens of thousands of images of major features on the planet — previously seen only at comparatively low resolution — are now available in sharp focus.



Measurements of the chemical composition of Mercury’s surface are providing important clues to the origin of the planet and its geological history. Maps of the planet’s topography and magnetic field are revealing new clues to Mercury’s interior dynamical processes. And regular detections of energetic particles are providing insight into the workings of Mercury’s magnetosphere.



MESSENGER team members will be discussing these new findings in a news conference at NASA Headquarters on June 16, 2011, at 1 p.m.




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MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 18, 2011, to begin a one-year study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.


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