In lieu of the recently concluded Space Week, let us take a look at some photos from Mercury Messenger, the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury! Mercury Messenger is designed to operate in an extreme environment, achieve scientific goals, and beam back beautiful photographs of the planet Mercury!
Mercury Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. It has six scientific goals:
Why is Mercury so dense?
What is the geologic history of Mercury?
What is the nature of Mercury’s magnetic field?
What is the structure of Mercury’s core?
What are the unusual materials at Mercury’s poles?
What volatiles are important at Mercury?
Mercury Messenger was launched from Cape Canaveral, USA on August 3, 2004 and eventually reached orbit around Mercury on March 18, 2011. Mercury Messenger is managed by many different scientists and engineers. The many scientists and engineers are organized into teams as well. The best way to learn about all involved with Mercury Messenger Mission is to go to the Mercury Messenger website.
Mercury Messenger is designed to operate in an extreme environment, achieve scientific goals, and beam back beautiful photographs of the planet Mercury! Temperatures of at least 370 degrees Celsius (700 degrees Fahrenheit!) are only but a few of the challenges of Mercury Messenger. The orbit of Mercury Messenger also passes from the lowest point of 200 Km (124 Miles) to over 15,193 Km (9,420 Miles) above the surface of the planet Mercury.
Mercury Messenger has already beamed back beautiful images. The unique geography of a distant world is revealed through the photography of Mercury Messenger: impact craters, fantastic contrasts of light, and grayscale textures. I posted the latest images that have been sent back (within the past 2 weeks) from Mercury! More images can be found at the Mercury Messenger website gallery.
Special thanks to the kind people of the Mercury Messenger Mission whom I communicated with in order to plan this article.
More information about Mercury and the spacecraft mission can be found at the Mercury Messenger website.