NASA rescheduled MESSENGER start to Mercury to August 3

August 2, 2004
NASA rescheduled MESSENGER start to Mercury to August 3

Today's launch of the MESSENGER spacecraft has been canceled due to weather constraints. The launch team will try again tomorrow, August 3, at 2:15:56 a.m. MESSENGER is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. Understanding Mercury, and the forces that have shaped it, is fundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and their evolution. Just what is a terrestrial planet? It is a group of planets that are like Earth.


The MESSENGER spacecraft will orbit Mercury following three flybys of that planet. The orbital phase will use the flyby information as an initial guide to perform a focused scientific investigation of this mysterious world.

MESSENGER will enter Mercury orbit in March 2011 and carry out comprehensive measurements for one Earth year. The data-collection phase of the mission will conclude in March 2012.

Mission Overview
MESSENGER is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. Understanding Mercury, and the forces that have shaped it, is fundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and their evolution.

MESSENGER is a MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission to orbit Mercury following three flybys of that planet. The orbital phase will use the flyby data as an initial guide to perform a focused scientific investigation of this enigmatic world.

MESSENGER will investigate key scientific questions regarding Mercury’s characteristics and environment during these two complementary mission phases. Data are provided by an optimized set of miniaturized space instruments and the spacecraft telecommunications system.

MESSENGER will enter Mercury orbit in March 2011 and carry out comprehensive measurements for one Earth year. Orbital data collection concludes in March 2012.

Explore further: Voyager mission celebrates 30 years since Uranus

Related Stories

Study zeros in on plate tectonics' start date

January 21, 2016

Earth has some special features that set it apart from its close cousins in the solar system, including large oceans of liquid water and a rich atmosphere with just the right ingredients to support life as we know it. Earth ...

How strong is gravity on other planets?

January 1, 2016

Gravity is a fundamental force of physics, one which we Earthlings tend to take for granted. You can't really blame us. Having evolved over the course of billions of years in Earth's environment, we are used to living with ...

What is the heliocentric model of the universe?

January 5, 2016

The Scientific Revolution, which took in the 16th and 17th centuries, was a time of unprecedented learning and discovery. During this period, the foundations of modern science were laid, thanks to breakthroughs in the fields ...

Mercury gets a meteoroid shower from comet Encke

November 10, 2015

The planet Mercury is being pelted regularly by bits of dust from an ancient comet, a new study has concluded. This has a discernible effect in the planet's tenuous atmosphere and may lead to a new paradigm on how these airless ...

What's it like to see auroras on other planets?

November 10, 2015

Witnessing an aurora first-hand is a truly awe-inspiring experience. The natural beauty of the northern or southern lights captures the public imagination unlike any other aspect of space weather. But auroras aren't unique ...

Recommended for you

Bright sparks shed new light on the dark matter riddle

February 1, 2016

The origin of matter in the universe has puzzled physicists for generations. Today, we know that matter only accounts for 5% of our universe; another 25% is constituted of dark matter. And the remaining 70% is made up of ...

World is embracing clean energy, professor says

February 1, 2016

Renewable, energy efficient and flexible electricity sources are being adopted by policy makers and investors across the globe and this is sign of optimism in the battle against climate change, a University of Exeter energy ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.