NASA rescheduled MESSENGER start to Mercury to August 3

Aug 02, 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: As stars form, magnetic fields influence regions big and small

Related Stories

Learn about Venus, the hothouse planet near Earth

Feb 23, 2015

Venus was once considered a twin to Earth, as it's roughly the same size and is relatively close to our planet. But once astronomers looked at it seriously in the past half-century or so, a lot of contrasts ...

Recommended for you

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

1 hour ago

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

4 hours ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

4 hours ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

MESSENGER completes 4,000th orbit of Mercury

4 hours ago

On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESSENGER ...

ESA recovers IXV spaceplane

5 hours ago

ESA's recovered IXV spaceplane arrived at the Port of Livorno in Italy yesterday and is set to be taken to Turin for final analysis.

User comments : 0

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.