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SCI/TECH: NASA Launches Misson to Mercury

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posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 08:39 AM
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A new NASA spacecraft, named MESSENGER was launched early Tuesday morning and is headed for the closest planet to the sun. Not much is known about the enigmatic planet, but many scientists believe that water may be trapped in shadowy craters. There can be as much as a 1,100 F difference between spots with shadows and areas that get sunlight.
 



www.reuters.com
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA launched its first mission to the planet Mercury in a generation early on Tuesday, one that scientists hope will strip away much of the mystery surrounding the tiny planet closest to the sun.

The MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft, riding a Boeing Co Delta 2 rocket, blazed across the nighttime sky above Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as the $427 million mission got underway with lift off at 2:16 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


MESSENGER will reach Mercury in seven years and only after it orbits the sun 15 times, Earth once, and Venus twice. As the spacecraft passes each planet, its speed will slow and eventually MESSENGER will be able to reach Mercury without accidentally shooting off into the sun.

The name MESSENGER seems odd to me though, if the craft is a messenger, who is it planning to deliver its message to?

[edit on 8/3/2004 by lockheed]

[edit on 8-3-2004 by Valhall]




posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 09:19 AM
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The name MESSENGER seems odd to me though, if the craft is a messenger, who is it planning to deliver its message to?


Mercury was the winged messenger, hence the name.



posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 09:21 AM
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Oh yeah! Hermes! Good thinking Nerdling :-)



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