MESSENGER

MESSENGER Completes Second Burn to Maintain Mercury Orbit

by Jason Major September 22, 2014

A little over a week before NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft fired its rockets to successfully enter orbit around Mars, MESSENGER performed a little burn of its own – the second of four orbit correction maneuvers (OCMs) that will allow it to remain in orbit around Mercury until next March. Although it is closing in on the end […]

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Mercury’s Hot Flow Revealed by MESSENGER

by Jason Major June 18, 2014

Our Sun is constantly sending a hot stream of charged atomic particles out into space in all directions. Pouring out from holes in the Sun’s corona, this solar wind flows through the Solar System at speeds of over 400 km/s (that’s 893,000 mph). When it encounters magnetic fields, like those generated by planets, the flow of particles is […]

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Mercury’s Ready For Its Close-Up, Mr. MESSENGER

by Jason Major May 15, 2014

Are you ready for a good close look at Mercury? At an incredible 5 meters per pixel, this is one of the highest-resolution images of Mercury’s surface ever captured. It was acquired on March 15 with the MESSENGER spacecraft’s MDIS (Mercury Dual Imaging System) instrument and shows an 8.3-km (5.2-mile) -wide section of Mercury’s north polar region, […]

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Mercury Had Quite The Explosive Past, Spacecraft Analysis Shows

by Elizabeth Howell April 9, 2014

Mercury — a planet once thought to have no volcanism at all — likely had a very active past, a new analysis of images from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows. After looking at 51 vents across Mercury, the team concluded that they show different amounts of erosion — hinting that the explosions happened at different times […]

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Mercury Shrinking: the First Rock from the Sun Contracted More than Once Thought

by Jason Major March 16, 2014

Whatever Mercury’s did to trim down its waistline has worked better than anyone thought — the innermost planet in our Solar System has reduced its radius* by about 7 kilometers (4.4 miles), over double the amount once estimated by scientists. Of course you wouldn’t want to rush to begin the Mercury diet — its planetary […]

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