Mariner 10: Best Venus Image and 1st Ever Planetary Gravity Assist – 40 Years Ago Today

by Ken Kremer February 5, 2014

Exactly 40 Years ago today on Feb. 5, 1974, Mariner 10, accomplished a history making and groundbreaking feat when the NASA science probe became the first spacecraft ever to test out and execute the technique known as a planetary gravity assisted flyby used to alter its speed and trajectory – in order to reach another […]

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5 Mercury Secrets Revealed by MESSENGER

by Elizabeth Howell March 18, 2013

After two years of doing the loop-the-loop around Mercury, MESSENGER has unveiled a bunch of surprises from Mercury — the closest planet to the Sun. The spacecraft launched in 2004 and made three flybys of the planet before settling into orbit two years ago today. Incredibly, MESSENGER is only the second NASA probe to visit […]

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Mercury’s False Moon: The Mercury/Mars Planetary Conjunction this Weekend

by David Dickinson February 6, 2013

The history of astronomy is littered with astronomical objects in the solar system that have fallen to the wayside. These include fleeting sightings of Venusian moons, inter-mercurial planets, and even secondary moons of the Earth. While none of these observations ever amounted to true discoveries, this weekend gives observers and astrophotographers a unique chance to […]

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2011: Top Stories from the Best Year Ever for NASA Planetary Science!

by Ken Kremer December 31, 2011

A year ago, 2011 was proclaimed as the “Year of the Solar System” by NASA’s Planetary Science division. And what a year of excitement it was indeed for the planetary science community, amateur astronomers and the general public alike ! NASA successfully delivered astounding results on all fronts – On the Story of How We […]

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Our Own Private Hell: Unlocking Mercury’s Enigmatic Past

by Bruce Dorminey December 14, 2011

Editor’s note: Bruce Dorminey, science journalist and author of “Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System,” interviews NASA’s MESSENGER mission Project Scientist Ralph McNutt about what we are learning about Mercury. Thirty-five years after NASA’s Mariner 10 interplanetary probe flew by and imaged less than half of tiny Mercury’s surface, NASA’s MESSENGER […]

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