Length of the Mission (as of this writing):
Mission begun on August 3, 2004
Days Hours Minutes Seconds
3913 15 21 10
What’s going on here?
For more use the DOOR.
Mercury is the planet closest to the sun. Though it hasn’t been much in the news, it will be as a space vehicle crash-lands here on April 30, 2015.
Here’s the latest from from NASA via James Dean of Florida Today (April 20, 2015):
“Gravity will soon kill the Messenger mission.
“The NASA spacecraft that launched from Cape Canaveral in 2004 and became the first to orbit Mercury in 2011 is on course to slam into the planet’s surface on April 30 at more than 8,700 mph.
“‘Messenger is going to create a new crater on Mercury at some point in the very near future,’ said John Grunsfeld, head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. ‘Rather than be sad about that [as if we already had any feelings about it…], we really are celebrating just a fantastic mission.’
“Messenger is short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemichemistry, and Ranging.”
Learned previously [though not loudly proclaimed] (1) water ice deposits are at the poles of the planet. (2) These deposits are “covered by a mysterious dark layer of what could be organic material delivered by the same objects that brought the water ice.” (3) This stuff probably came from the outer part of the solar system, hence the history of Mercury might soon be considerably revised…
More later as we get closer to this event…
[The ADS editor/writer is just back from two weeks in France and Israel, so more about things there coming up.]