Browse Archive

  • Newly Named Mercury Craters Honor Hawaiian Guitarist, Beloved Young Adult Author  →

    3.26.13 - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 — recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury.

  • MESSENGER Completes Its First Extended Mission at Mercury  →

    3.18.13 - On March 17, 2013, MESSENGER successfully completed its year-long first extended mission in orbit about Mercury, building on the groundbreaking scientific results from its earlier primary mission.

  • MESSENGER's Discoveries Tapped as among Top Space Stories of 2012  →

    1.4.13 - In 2012, the MESSENGER mission to Mercury completed its primary mission, embarked on an extended mission, saw its images and maps featured on a highly rated television show, sponsored the release of a dedicated app, and celebrated the 8th anniversary of its launch, all the while continuing to produce new findings about the planet closest to the Sun.

  • Recently Named Mercury Craters Honor Blues Singer and Animation Pioneer  →

    12.21.12 - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities.

  • MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles  →

    11.29.12 - New observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.

  • MESSENGER Finds Unusual Groups of Ridges and Troughs on Mercury  →

    11.15.12 - MESSENGER has discovered assemblages of tectonic landforms unlike any previously found on Mercury or elsewhere in the Solar System. The findings are reported in a paper led by Smithsonian scientist Thomas Watters, "Extension and contraction within volcanically buried impact craters and basins on Mercury," published in the December issue of the journal Geology.

  • MESSENGER Mission Receives the IAA Laurels for Team Achievement Award  →

    10.04.12 - The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) has awarded the 2012 Laurels for Team Achievement Award to the MESSENGER team. The award was presented September 30 at the opening ceremony of the 63rd International Astronautical Congress, which is being held this week in Naples.

  • MESSENGER's X-Ray Spectrometer Reveals Chemical Diversity on Mercury's Surface  →

    09.21.12 - New data from the X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) on the MESSENGER spacecraft -- one of two instruments designed to measure the abundances of many key elements on Mercury -- show variations in the composition of surface material on Mercury that point to changes over time in the characteristics of volcanic eruptions on the solar system's innermost planet.

  • MESSENGER Data from Second Full Mercury Solar Day in Orbit Released by Planetary Data System  →

    09.11.12 - Late last week, the Planetary Data System (PDS) released data collected during MESSENGER's seventh through twelfth month in orbit around Mercury. PDS archives and distributes all of NASA's planetary mission data. With this release, images and measurements are now available to the public for the second full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations.

  • MESSENGER Team Mourns the Loss of Neil Armstrong  →

    08.27.12 - The news of Neil Armstrong's death this weekend left many members of the MESSENGER team mourning his loss and reflecting on his legacy. Armstrong died on August 25, at the age of 82. He commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969; and an estimated 600 million people witnessed, by television or radio, as he became the first man to set foot on its surface.

  • International Astronomical Union Approves Names for Nine Mercury Craters  →

    08.09.12 - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities.

  • MESSENGER Marks 8th Anniversary of Launch  →

    08.03.12 - The MESSENGER spacecraft launched eight years ago today — on August 3, 2004 — embarking on a six-and-a-half year journey to become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. The spacecraft's 4.9-billion mile (7.9-billion kilometer) cruise to history included 15 trips around the Sun, a flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury.

  • MESSENGER Completes Its 1,000th Orbit of Mercury  →

    06.22.12 - MESSENGER will complete its 1,000th orbit of the planet closest to the Sun at 11:22 p.m. EDT tonight. "Reaching this milestone is yet another testimony to the hard work and dedication of the full MESSENGER team that has designed, launched, and operated this highly successful spacecraft," says the mission trajectory lead Jim McAdams of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

  • MESSENGER Measures Waves at the Boundary of Mercury's Magnetosphere  →

    05.22.12 - MESSENGER scientists have concluded that waves driven by the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability play a key role in driving Mercury's magnetosphere. In a paper published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the team reports on frequent detections of such waves at the outer edge of the innermost planet's magnetosphere.

  • MESSENGER Gains Deputy Principal Investigator  →

    05.08.12 - Larry Nittler, a staff scientist in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, has been named deputy principal investigator of the MESSENGER mission. MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of CIW, delivered the announcement this morning at the first plenary of the 26th meeting of the MESSENGER Science Team meeting in Vancouver, B.C.

  • MESSENGER's Cameras Capture 100,000th Image from Mercury Orbit  →

    05.03.12 - This week, MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System delivered the 100,000th image of Mercury since the spacecraft entered into orbit around the planet on March 18, 2011. The instrument — one of seven aboard the spacecraft — has globally mapped the planet in high-resolution monochrome images and in color images through eight of its color filters, uncovering a new view of Mercury and shedding light on the planet's geologic history.

  • Dr. Seuss, Alvin Ailey among the Names Selected for 23 Mercury Craters  →

    04.26.12 - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign 23 new names to impact craters on Mercury. The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors.

  • MESSENGER Settles into Eight-Hour Orbit Around Mercury, Poised for New Discoveries  →

    04.20.12 - MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., conducted the second of two maneuvers required to reduce the spacecraft's orbital period about Mercury.

  • MESSENGER Adjusts Orbit for a Closer Look at Mercury  →

    04.16.12 - The MESSENGER mission successfully completed the first of two maneuvers designed to reduce the spacecraft's orbital period about Mercury. This new trajectory will pave the way for more detailed measurements and targeted observations of the Sun's closest neighbor.

  • MESSENGER Images Debut on "The Big Bang Theory"  →

    04.05.12 - Tonight, images from MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System will make their debut on the CBS sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory." The award-winning comedy centers on five characters.