06.22.11 - MESSENGER Co-Investigator Scott Murchie, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., will be awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest honor that NASA bestows to an individual working outside the government. The award is granted only to individuals whose singular accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA mission.
06.16.11 - After nearly three months in orbit about Mercury, MESSENGER’s payload is providing a wealth of new information about the planet closest to the Sun, as well as a few surprises.
06.15.11 - The MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed its first orbit-correction maneuver today to reset its periapsis altitude — the lowest point of MESSENGER’s orbit about Mercury relative to the planet’s surface — from 506 kilometers to approximately 200 kilometers.
06.13.11 - On June 12th, the MESSENGER spacecraft successfully completed the first of four "hot seasons" expected to occur during its one-year primary mission in orbit about Mercury. During these hot seasons, the Sun-facing side of the probe’s sunshade can reach temperatures as high as 350°C.
06.10.11 - NASA will host a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 16, 2011, to reveal new images and science findings from the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. The event will be held in the NASA Headquarters auditorium located at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. NASA Television and the agency's website will broadcast the event.
05.06.11 - Later today, MESSENGER will complete its 100th orbit around Mercury. Since its insertion into orbit about the innermost planet on March 17, the spacecraft has executed nearly 2 million commands.
05.03.11 - MESSENGER carries a Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS) capable of measuring and characterizing gamma-ray emissions from the surface of Mercury. Gamma rays coming from Mercury carry information about the concentrations of elements present on its surface, and observations from the GRS are being used to determine the surface composition of the planet.
04.26.11 - MESSENGER’s Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) uses a laser to measure the distance from the spacecraft to Mercury’s surface.
043.26.11 - MESSENGER’s Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) uses a laser to measure the distance from the spacecraft to Mercury’s surface.
04.19.11 - One of the primary science goals of MESSENGER is to study Mercury’s very thin atmosphere, or exosphere.
04.11.11 - First seen in Mariner 10 images, and again during MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, the bright-rayed crater Kuiper (62 km in diameter) provides an important stratigraphic marker in Mercury's history.
04.05.11 - This afternoon, MESSENGER began its yearlong science campaign to understand the innermost planet.
03.29.11 - MESSENGER has delivered its first image since entering orbit about Mercury on March 17.
03.28.11 - NASA will release the first orbital image of Mercury's surface, including previously unseen terrain, on Tuesday afternoon, March 29.
03.21.11 - Data from its first three days in orbit about Mercury have confirmed the initial assessment of the spacecraft team that MESSENGER is in its intended orbit and operating nominally.
03.17.11 - At 9:10 p.m. EDT, engineers in the MESSENGER Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., received the anticipated radiometric signals confirming nominal burn shutdown and successful insertion of the MESSENGER probe into orbit around the planet Mercury.
03.17.11 - With less than six hours to go, MESSENGER is on schedule for its 8:45 p.m. (EDT) rendezvous with Mercury.
03.16.11 - MESSENGER is now on autopilot, faithfully executing a detailed set of instructions required to achieve its historic rendezvous with Mercury tomorrow night.
03.15.11 - After more than a dozen laps through the inner solar system and six planetary flybys, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will move into orbit around Mercury at around 9 p.m. EDT on March 17, 2011. The durable spacecraft — carrying seven science instruments and fortified against the blistering environs near the Sun — will be the first to orbit the innermost planet.
03.10.11 - NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or MESSENGER, will enter orbit at approximately 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17. The spacecraft has conducted more than a dozen laps through the inner solar system for the past 6.6 years.