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Mercury probe: Messenger

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posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 05:05 PM
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The next target for space exploration is mercury, launch from Florida will take place in the next 14 days or so should be an interesting mission...

first time I hear of this tho....

A team of Howard County scientists and engineers are on a quest to open the next chapter of space exploration.

For eight years, they have toiled on a ground-breaking NASA mission called Messenger, a probe that will orbit Mercury for the first time and reveal a side of the planet _ literally _ that man has never seen.


MERCURY FACTS

* Location: nearest planet to the sun.

* Name origin: named after the Roman god, Mercury.

* Revolution period: about 88 Earth days.

* Size: about 1/3 the size of Earth.

* Geography: heavily cratered body featuring a large impact basin stretching 1,300 kilometers


MESSENGER FACTS

* Launch Date: during a 15-day period that opens July 30.

* Cost: approximately $338 million.

* Weight: a little more than one ton.

* Orbital mission date: Messenger will begin a year-long orbital mission in March 2011.

* Return: Messenger will not return to Earth. Several years after the mission is completed, the spacecraft is expected to hit Mercury.




Mercury probe: Messenger Info




posted on Jul, 1 2004 @ 11:33 PM
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Wow! I really would like to see that side of mercury. But... do you know why that side has never been seen by man? If there's something I kwnow about mercury is that one of its sides always points to the sun while the other always points to the oposite direction, an due to that, the temperature on the bright side is about 167 C and on the dark side is -270 C , what makes of mercury one of the most extreme enviroments on our solar sistem, I think.
That remembers me that I've never been able to spot mercury on the sky... has any of you been able to do it?



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 12:37 AM
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Originally posted by titan_scout
Wow! I really would like to see that side of mercury. But... do you know why that side has never been seen by man? If there's something I kwnow about mercury is that one of its sides always points to the sun while the other always points to the oposite direction, an due to that, the temperature on the bright side is about 167 C and on the dark side is -270 C , what makes of mercury one of the most extreme enviroments on our solar sistem, I think.


not entirely correct. great guess though! mercury does rotate, slowly at that though. a day on mercury is roughly 59 earth days. so, being that it rotates, it does not constantly keep one side on the sun. the reason it hasn't been seen though is because of two reasons. it's impossible to view mercury's surface from earth due to its proximity to the sun. the sun creates a glare, and the planet is just too tiny. the second reason is that the mariner 10 probe could not photograph slightly less than half of the planet due to the sun.



That remembers me that I've never been able to spot mercury on the sky... has any of you been able to do it?


i have... once. it's damn hard to do so, again because of the closeness to the sun. you'd need to know where it will be ahead of time, so you can keep an eye out in that general area. a decent set of binoculars will help as well.

EDIT: here's a map of what has been viewed of mercury. it shows some plains and craters.



[edit on 7/2/2004 by cmdrkeenkid]



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 02:40 AM
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I'm not sure if I am wrong, but what would happen if the rotation period were also 59 earth days long, the same lenght of a mercury day? wouldn't that cause make one side of mercury be always facing the sun, the same way only one side of the moon faces earth?
You surely know much more about astronomy than me, but i'm sure i've read somewhere what i told on the last post. Maybe the informacion i've got is obsolete and has been replaced by new findings...

PD: sorry about my bad english, I'm from Argentina and altough i can read english perfectly, I can't write on that language



posted on Jul, 2 2004 @ 07:15 AM
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Its close titan but tidal forces haven't locked Mercury in completely yet.

nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov...

It rotational period is just over 58 days, its orbital period is just over 88 days (Earth days that is). So its close, not quite locked, but so close that the actual duration of one Mercury day is almost 176 Earth days.

You are right though, it is one nasty little place. Little too close to the sun for comfort.



posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 05:01 AM
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