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NASA TV To Cover MESSENGER Spacecraft Entering Mercury's Orbit

NASA Television and the agency's website will carry live coverage from 0:00 to 2:00 UTC (8 to 10 p.m. EDT) Thursday as the first spacecraft enters Mercury's orbit. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which operates the MESSENGER spacecraft, is conducting the webcast from its mission control building in Laurel, Md.
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NASA's MESSENGER to Become First Spacecraft to Orbit Mercury



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Messenger probe set to orbit Mercury

Nasa's Messenger spacecraft is primed and ready to enter into orbit around Mercury - the first probe to do so.
The US space agency has uploaded commands to the robotic explorer that should initiate a 14-minute burn on its main thruster on Friday (GMT).

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MESSENGER Primed for Mercury Orbit

After more than a dozen laps through the inner solar system and six planetary flybys, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will move into orbit around Mercury at around 9 p.m. EDT on March 17, 2011. The durable spacecraft - carrying seven science instruments and fortified against the blistering environs near the Sun - will be the first to orbit the innermost planet.
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On March 18, 2011, 12:45 am UTC, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft ever to enter Mercury's orbit. The probe will continue to orbit the planet once every 12 hours for the duration of its primary mission. The first few days after orbit insertion will be focused on ensuring that the spacecraft systems are all working well in the harsh thermal environment of orbit; this interval is known as the orbital commissioning phase. On March 24, 2011, the instruments will be turned on and checked out, and on April 4, 2011, the science phase of the mission will begin and the first orbital science data from Mercury will be returned.
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Messenger Nasa probe will soon enter Mercury orbit

Messenger has already made three flybys of Mercury and is set to enter orbit around the rocky world on 17 March.
When Mariner 10 visited the planet in 1974, it sent back pictures of what seemed to some at the time an uninteresting planet compared with Venus, Mars and the Solar System's gas giants.

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A Solar System Family Portrait, from the Inside Out

The MESSENGER spacecraft has captured the first portrait of our Solar System from the inside looking out. Comprised of 34 images, the mosaic provides a complement to the Solar System portrait - that one from the outside looking in - taken by Voyager 1 in 1990.
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messMer.jpg
Expand (11mb, 5400 x 3600)
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington


This mosaic was captured on the 8th October, 2008, by the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) aboard the Messenger spaceprobe, during the probes second flyby.
The image shows Mercury in enhanced colours.


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Messenger's third flyby reveals new information about Mercury

Analysis of data from Messenger's third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009 has revealed the first observations of emission from an ionised species in Mercury's exosphere, new information about magnetic substorms and evidence of younger volcanism on the innermost planet than previously recognised. The results are reported in three papers published online July 15 in the Science Express section of the website of Science magazine.
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New Revelations about Mercury's Volcanism, Magnetic Substorms, and Exosphere from MESSENGER

Analysis of data from MESSENGER's third and final flyby of Mercury in September 2009 has revealed evidence of younger volcanism on the innermost planet than previously recognized, new information about magnetic substorms, and the first observations of emission from an ionised species in Mercury's very thin atmosphere or exosphere. The results are reported in three papers published online on July 15 in the Science Express section of the website of Science magazine.
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