posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 03:05 AM
I'll be the first to admit that the long flight period had me scratching my head at first... but, as I understand it, it's needed so as to make
close flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury that will slow the MESSENGER probe down just enough for it to enter Mercvury's orbit in 2011. Yeah, they
could have done something more direct, but my perception was that such a flight plan would have been more expensive.
Still... It's a fun idea to think about. However... if they wanted to send a secret probe to 'Planet X' they could just do so without telling us.
All they would have to say was that it was a classified spy satellite... or something even more mundane. There'd be no reason to raise public
awareness at all.
The probe is also covered on one side with what amounts to a 'heat shield'. Why would you need such a thing in space beyond the inner solar system?