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#76 2008-01-10 04:55:10

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Flyby presskit (PDF 2MB) - 9 Jan 2008

Detailed background to the flyby on 14 Jan 2008. In just a few days over 1000 new images will be taken of the unexplored region - be sure to check them out!


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#77 2008-01-14 07:12:53

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

mercury4uq2.gif
Five navigation images taken with the Narrow Angle Camera
First image 10 Jan 2008 at 2.7 million kms
Last image 13 Jan 2008 at 0.8 million kms


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#78 2008-01-15 17:46:36

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Flyby Observations Are on the Way! - 15 Jan 2008

At 16:30 UTC (11:30 a.m. EST) today, MESSENGER flight controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., received the first telemetry from the spacecraft following the probe’s closest approach to Mercury yesterday. All spacecraft subsystems and instruments are operating normally, and telemetry data indicate that the command sequence during the flyby executed as expected.

The data from the probe – which include 1,213 images – are scheduled to start coming down to the Deep Space Network in Canberra, Australia in a few hours. As soon as the downlink transmission is complete, the MESSENGER Science Team will complete the processing of the first images.

“We are delighted with the successful outcome of the flyby,” said MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “The MESSENGER team is now eagerly awaiting the return of all of the scientific observations made over the past two days. We hope to share, within the next 24 hours, a first look at the side of Mercury never before seen at close range.”

Additional information and features from this first flyby will be available online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_flyby1.html. Following the flyby, be sure to check for the latest released images and science results!

Hooray!


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#79 2008-01-16 03:05:24

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

EW0108820027G.png
Finally revealed! 

First Look at Mercury’s Previously Unseen Side - 15 Jan 2008

When Mariner 10 flew past Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975, the same hemisphere was in sunlight during each encounter. As a consequence, Mariner 10 was able to image less than half the planet. Planetary scientists have wondered for more than 30 years about what spacecraft images might reveal about the hemisphere of Mercury that Mariner 10 never viewed.

On January 14, 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft observed about half of the hemisphere missed by Mariner 10. This image was snapped by the Wide Angle Camera, part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) instrument, about 80 minutes after MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury (2:04 p.m. EST), when the spacecraft was at a distance of about 27,000 kilometers (about 17,000 miles). The image shows features as small as 10 kilometers (6 miles) in size. This image was taken through a filter sensitive to light near the red end of the visible spectrum (750 nm), one of a sequence of images taken through each of MDIS’s 11 filters..

Like the previously mapped portion of Mercury, this hemisphere appears heavily cratered. It also reveals some unique and distinctive features. On the upper right is the giant Caloris basin, including its western portions never before seen by spacecraft. Formed by the impact of a large asteroid or comet, Caloris is one of the largest, and perhaps one of the youngest, basins in the Solar System. The new image shows the complete basin interior and reveals that it is brighter than the surrounding regions and may therefore have a different composition. Darker smooth plains completely surround Caloris, and many unusual dark-rimmed craters are observed inside the basin. Several other multi-ringed basins are seen in this image for the first time. Prominent fault scarps (large ridges) lace the newly viewed region.

Other images obtained during the flyby will reveal surface features in color and in much more detail. Collectively, these images and measurements made by other MESSENGER instruments will soon provide a detailed global view of the surface of Mercury, yielding key information for understanding the formation and geologic history of the innermost planet.

More images here


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#80 2008-01-31 02:54:57

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Prockter06.jpg
"The Spider” – Radial Troughs within Caloris

Surprises From Mercury (media & movie) - 30 Jan 2008

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 (MESSENGER) spacecraft made its first flyby on Jan. 14. MESSENGER is the first mission 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, MESSENGER 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 one hundred 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 MESSENGER 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 MESSENGER flyby appeared to be different from the Mariner 10 observations. MESSENGER found the planet's magnetic field was generally quiet but showed several signatures indicating significant pressure within the magnetosphere.

Flyby News Conference (video 55 mins) - 30 Jan 2008


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#81 2008-04-18 07:19:11

3488
Member
From: Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom
Registered: 2008-04-15
Posts: 23

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

I can see that I need to bring this thread up to date.  lol

This is certainly a most fascinating mission.

125 KM wide Eminescu Crater.

EN0108828468M.jpg

Countdown to 2nd closest approach: Monday 6th October 2008.

179 Days.
23 Hours.
45 Minutes.
10 Seconds.

Andrew Brown.


"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io". Linda Morabito on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.

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#82 2008-04-18 10:35:36

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Very nice image, the internal peak ring and the radial chain craters are impressive.


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#83 2008-04-18 14:21:47

3488
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From: Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom
Registered: 2008-04-15
Posts: 23

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

I agree cIclops, when MESSENGER finally arrives in Hermeocentric orbit in March 2011, so much will be learnt.

The upcoming encounter this October, will show practically the rest of the unimaged terrain, on the inbound leg & a large slice of preimaged terrain from Mariner 10 will be seen outbound, though the Sun will be shining from the opposite direction.

The only real gripe I have with the mission, is the orbit used in the orbital mission. IMO it would have been best had the orbit been a low polar one, but instead, it is elliptical, with much of the equator & the southern hemisphere not being seen at as high resolution as much of the northern hemisphere.

MESSENGER is a beautifully built, superbly engineered spacecraft (no complaints about the MESSENGER spacecraft at all though), but I fear, will not be used to the best of its abilities.

I hope NASA / JHU decide to change the Hermeocentric orbit in the primary mission.

Mercury is far more fascinating than is given credit for.

Last week's update was very interesting.

Northern Beagle Rupes. 250 KM wide area shown.
EN0108827037M.jpg

The 170 KM wide lava filled crater at the top of the image is also very interesting.

Andrew Brown.


"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io". Linda Morabito on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.

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#84 2015-04-30 15:11:28

Excelsior
Member
From: Excelsior, USA
Registered: 2014-02-22
Posts: 120

Re: MESSENGER - Mercury Orbiter

Das Kaput...

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft crashes into Mercury

Messenger, NASA’s Mercury-orbiting spacecraft, reached the end of its historic 11-year mission Thursday when it crashed into the little planet closest to the sun.

The spacecraft, which was out of fuel, slipped out of orbit and slammed into Mercury at 3:26 p.m. ET, according to mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md.

Mission control confirmed end of operations at 3:40 p.m. ET,when no signal was detected by NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) station in Goldstone, Calif., at the time the spacecraft would have emerged from behind the planet

At 3:16 p.m. ET, the mission's @MESSENGER2011 Twitter account had tweeted: "Well I guess it is time to say goodbye to all my friends, family, support team. I will be making my final impact very soon."

At 3:23 p.m. ET @MESSENGER2011 tweeted "#thatsmessenger" and an image of Mercury's surface, with the message "Messenger's last act? That's smashing!"


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