Monday, October 06, 2008

MESSENGER at Mercury, Flyby 2

Remember MESSENGER, the spacecraft under way to Mercury? On its complicated path that will make it the first satellite to enter into an orbit around the innermost planet, MESSENGER had its second close encounter with Mercury earlier today: At 08:40 UTC, the probe rushed past the planet at a height of 199.7 kilometers (124.1 miles) and a maximal velocity relative to Mercury of 6.616 km/s (4.111 miles per second or 14,800 miles per hour).



The photo was taken by MESSENGER on Sunday, October 5, 2008, for optical navigation purposes. The crescent shows parts of the surface of Mercury which have never been seen by spacecraft before.

More about MESSENGER to come soon...


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2 comments:

Arun said...

MESSENGER had its second close encounter with Mercury earlier today:

:) Waiting for its close encounter of the third kind :)

Neil' said...

I dig mercury. I once saw a transit at 117x through a filter, very interesting. My girlfriend and I went as "Mercury and Venus" (the gods!) for a Halloween party in 2006, see pics below:
http://www.tidewater.us.mensa.org/Graphics/Halloween2006/slides/MensaHalloween06_4.html.
She can play Venus convincingly! She declined to do Sarah Palin (no true goddess by a long shot, despite dittohead rapture) this year.