Messenger's 11 year epic journey yet another triumph for NASA and JPL
Launched in 2004, this NASA probe was the first and only to enter orbit around Mercury. From March 18, 2011, till April 30, 2015, Messenger scanned the surface of Mercury, until it was crashlanded, as planned, on April 30, 2015. Its mission included two fly-bys of Venus, and to study the chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field of Mercury.
One of the innovative features of this highly-successful mission was the use of a complex series of fly-bys, between Earth (x1), Venus (x2) and Mercury (x3), in order to minimise expenditure of fuel, while slowing enough to enter orbit around Mercury. Many probes fly past planets, in order to profit from the rapid acceleration from their gravity, known as the slingshot, so they can travel the vast distances between planets in reasonable time. However, the disadvantage is that it would take a great deal of energy, heavy fuel, to slow down enough to enter orbit. The technique used by NASA for Messenger proved that it is possible to have the best of both solutions - and get the data we so eagerly want before the original probe designers are in retirement.
Messenger spent 10 months taking nearly 100,000 pictures of Mercury's surface, which mapped the surface completely. Due to the closeness of its orbit, it required regular boosts to maintain orbit. When it finally ran out of propellant, after two year-long mission extensions, it was allowed to embrace its new home more intimately.
Among its discoveries was the confirmation that there is water ice at Mercury's North Pole. It also sent back data about how the planet formed, the chemical composition of its surface, the core, the poles, magnetic field and its exosphere.
Content © Andrew Bone. All rights reserved.
The most recent article is:
View this item in the topic:
and many more articles in the subject:
Environmental Science is the most important of all sciences. As the world enters a phase of climate change, unprecedented biodiversity loss, pollution and human population growth, the management of our environment is vital for our futures. Learn about Environmental Science on ScienceLibrary.info.
Go to the article about: Energy Types
I once got engaged to his daughter Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rockbound coast.
Website © renewable-media.com | Designed by: Andrew Bone