The Messenger Must Die!

15-133a

Image & Illustration Credit & Copyright: NASA/JHUAPL.

With the burn up of Venus Express in late 2014-early 2015, one of our two eyes to the inferior (inner) planets was extinguished. Unfortunately, it seems that this week, by the end of April, after nearly 11 years in space and more than 4 years and 4,000 orbits around Mercury, MESSENGER will meet its fate as well.

NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft (MESSENGER) was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex-17B (SLC-17B) on August 3, 2004 on a Boeing Delta II rocket to study the first rock from the Sun.

After 7 years of flyby’s and gravity assists, MESSENGER became the 1st spacecraft to orbit the 1st planet on March 17, 2011 (18th UTC time) where it remains today, imaging and sending back never seen before data. A survivor of mission extensions, and corrections to boost its orbit, it seems MESSENGER will not survive much longer. As fuel runs dry MESSENGER’s orbit has gotten lower and lower and is days from impacting the surface, hopefully sending data back through the entire descent. What a great mission it’s been and I never cease to be amazed at the imagery and knowledge gleaned through this spacecraft and its team.

15-133b

The next mission to Mercury is slated to be BepiColombo, a joint ESA/NASA mission sending a pair of spacecraft to the 1st planet in 2024 to study the planets sore, composition and magnetic field. Launch will likely be sometime in 2017.

NASA & Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHUAPL) Messenger: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

NASA Messenger site: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/messenger/main/index.html

Where is Messenger: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/whereis/index.php

Where is Mercury: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/education/whereMercury/

JHUAPL Messenger image gallery: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/gallery.html

JHUAPL Messenger image gallery (all images): http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/view.php?gallery_id=2

JPL Photojournal: MERCURY: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/targetFamily/Mercury

Planetary Society Bruce Murray image library of Mercury images: http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/mercury/?keywords=messenger

Great Mercury images: http://cseligman.com/text/planets/mercury.htm

Messenger on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MESSENGER-Mission/143392389006241

Messenger on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MESSENGER2011

Advertisements
Image | This entry was posted in Images, News, Solar System, Spaceflight Companies & Vehicles, Telescopes & Detection Equip. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Messenger Must Die!

  1. Pingback: The Messenger Must Die! | (from DanSpace77) | Locating Frankenstein's Brain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s