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MESSENGER: Science and Technology
Question Board

Juan Rodriguez from Oviedo (Spain)
What researching will you do during the Venus flybys?
Peter from Basel, Switzerland
Messenger orbiting the Planet Mercury - Where is the Lander?
Art from Los Altos
What imaging and spectrographic instruments will be aboard the spacecraft, and what data do you hope to gather, and what are you expecting to learn from this information?
Rich from Elk Grove
How long will MESSENGER's science mission last, and what will happen to MESSENGER when it is done with its mission?
Dan Sez from Dallas
What special equipment and strategies are used to protect the spacecraft from much higher levels of solar radiations, CMEs and other solar specific threats?
Juan Fernandez from Barcelona (Spain)
What is/are the OS that is governing the Messenger systems?
John Tate from Yucca Valley, California
What are the estimated temperatures way out there?
Renato from San Paulo, Brazil
How close will be the Mercury flybys? What level of resolution can we expect of the pictures taken during these flybys?
Vikram from Kurnool
What if during the flyby, a solar flare occurs and is so strong that it interferes with MESSENGER'S communications? Did you plan for this already? What's your interest in studying Mercury? How can data be transferred without interruption if solar bursts occur?
Kenny Keese from Dallas, Texas
How will the gravity assist flight plan differ for MESSENGER, as opposed to other deep space launches, since the spacecraft is ultimately traveling towards the Sun? Can we expect MESSENGER to reach a higher traveling velocity than previous flights and how will that affect the procedures of orbit insertion?
Kenny Keese from Dallas, Texas
At the conclusion of MESSENGER's mission, what is the current plan for the spacecraft's disposal? If it collides with another object will it exceed the record set by the Galileo spacecraft for a man made collision?
Pawan from Sharjah
Will MESSENGER be able to find out the contents in Mercury's core? What type of materials and terrain are the scientists expecting to be found on the surface of Mercury?
Junichi from Niihama-City
How will you protect MESSENGER from high energy solar winds and really high temperatures and/or freezing cold temperatures?
Junichi from Niihama-City
Would MESSENGER be affected by the twisting of space time effects by the Sun?
Junichi from Niihama-City
With Mercury being so close to Sun, what is the most complex feature that had to be designed to protect the MESSENGER spacecraft?
Junichi Maki from Niihama-City
What is the most significant difference between the previous Mariner 10 Mission and the upcoming sophisticated MESSENGER?
Junichi Maki from Niihama-City
Will high-resolution pictures of Mercury bring us Mercury's geophysical composition in details?
Junichi from Niihama-City
Some scientists say that Titan and Mars are the most important places to explore, others say Mercury is a really important planet because it is so similar EARTH in terms of the composition of materials of its surface. I wonder which would bring us cutting edge results for us to know where Earth came from and where Earth would go?
Junichi from Niihama-City
What is the most fascinating aspect of Mercury versus the other planets in terms of solving the secrets of our Solar System?
Junichi from Niihama-City
What is the difference in the instruments and equipment of MESSENGER compared to the Mariner 10 Mission?
Junichi from Niihama-City
What do you think most interests scientists about MERCURY in terms of the Solar System mechanism?
Junichi from Niihama-City
What is the most advanced or cutting edge equipment of MESSENGER versus Mariner 10?
Junichi from Niihama-City
What will the advanced instruments on MESSENGER reveal about the surface Mercury? What is different from the Mariner 10 mission in 1975 and the most distinguished features of MESSENGER?
Robert from Tucson, Arizona
What is the Caloris Basin, and why is this area of Mercury unique in our solar system? Would this be a primary point of interest to MESSENGER?
Robert from Tucson, Arizona
If there is a trace of an atmosphere on Mercury what would that be composed of?
Robert from Tucson, Arizona
Can MESSENGER help explain why Mercury's axis is virtually perpendicular to the plain of the orbit? What caused this to happen?
Glenn from Moscow
What exploration programs of Mercury surfaces will be carried out during this mission?
Raymond from Portland, Oregon
What are the criteria, in general, for choosing the orbital path, i.e., what information gathered on the three flybys will influence your final decision. Also, what is the range of possible orbits? Polar? Equitorial? Stationary?
David from Barcelona
Why such a long journey? Is it because of low-cost constraints? Didn't Mariner missions in the 60's arrive at Mercury in a few months?
Matthew from Big Lake
What science do you hope is obtained by MESSENGER? Do you hope to find out what Mercury is made of? And, why it is hot on one side and cold on the other side of the planet?
Joey V. from Austin
How will MESSENGER be able to operate with the intense heat from the Sun?
Bob from Belvidere
Will MESSENGER be able to take pictures in color?
Bob from Belvidere
How does the sunshade get deployed and how close will it be to the Sun when it needs to be deployed? Also, does the sunshade move in relation to the spacecraft or does the spacecraft itself have to keep orienting itself to keep the sunshade between it and the Sun?
Ashutosh from Mumbai, India
During this long journey of seven years, are you going to do any science to study the space between Sun and Earth?
Ashutosh from Mumbai, India
As we are moving towards the Sun, will there be any impact of sun spots on MESSENGER during this long journey of seven years?
Shawn from Parison
Hi to all NASA experts... I heard about the landing of MESSENGER on Mercury's pole!! Do you really believe that MESSENGER will arrive at Mercury as you intend, due to interplanetary mediums and cosmic rays sent by our star, the Sun?
Matthew from Los Altos
How will MESSENGER map the surface of Mercury?
Junichi from Niihama-City
Why does Mercury go around the Sun "in a wildly elliptical (non-ciricular) orbit?" Is it because of the Sun's effect of warping of space time due to the presence of a the nearby massive Sun?
Junichi Maki from Niihama-City
Is Mercury affected by the geodetic effect of the presence of a massive Sun?
Grace from Clarksville
How much fuel is it going to take to get to Mercury and how big is the fuel tank?
Edward from Albuquerque
Who made the solar cells on MESSENGER?
Valesca from Palm Harbor
Could you explain how light works with the spectroscope?
Pulakesh Saikia from India
Does MESSENGER have any Mirror System For reflection of excess heat and diversion of sunlight into the instruments?
Jason from Greenville
Why does it take so long to get to Mercury, which I heard is at times Earth's closest planetary neighbor? Does Mercury have a dark side that does not face the Sun? If it has a dark side, is it cold?
Steven from Spartanburg
What kind of propulsion does MESSENGER use to get to Mercury? Is it advanced technology?
Mike from Louisville
Why will it take so long to get to Mercury? It only takes eight to nine months to get to Mars.
Bert from Norwood
When will the questions on the MESSENGER message board be answered? My question is why does it take seven years after launch to reach orbit?
Berne from Paris, Kentucky
Will there be relativistic space time physics experiments performed to test Einstein and other modern physics theory while in Mercury's high velocity orbit around the Sun?
Carl from Lethbridge, Canada
Would Mercury have been torn apart by the Sun's radiation if it did not have a magnetic field?
Nishant from Mumbai
Is the MESSENGER safe and will it be safe till the end?
Kim from Winnemucca, Nevada
Will MESSENGER do any science at Venus?
Manfred from Buford, Georgia
How is MESSENGER protected against the high energy particles (solar winds) if it has no magnetic field to use as a shield? Will it be kept on the dark side of Mercury to maintain communication with Earth?
George from Mesquite
Given Mercury's similarities to the Earth, how will the lessons learned at Mercury help us better understand our own planet?
John from Leicester, United Kingdom
When MESSENGER reaches Mercury, what type of shielding will MESSENGER use to protect itself from the Sun's heat and harmful radiation?
Matthew from Zagreb
What do you expect to find on Mercury? Thank you.
Wade from Adelaide
Do you expect any major surprises or unknowns to be unearthed during the investigation of Mercury by MESSENGER?
Daniel from San Jose
How long will MESSENGER last, do you think, due to the harmful radiation?
Shivani from Melbourne
What's your actual mission on Mercury? Is it to find out that people can survive on Mercury or not?
Hardik Gajjar from Ahmedabad, India
What is the reason to send a probe to Mercury, where life is not possible? Don't you think that it will be good to spend more on Mars rather than spending on Mercury or other such planets?
Venkatesh from Hyderabad
Why isn't Mercury slanting? Does it require a moon like Earth?
Erykah from West Sacramento
How do you know that the MESSENGER will not encounter any problems, such as asteroids, or comets, on its way to Mercury?
Evan from Soo
I've heard there is a special covering over the rocket to protect the probe from the extreme heat. Do you foresee any other complications from the extreme heat and radiation?
Greg from Mechanicsville
Why is the MESSENGER spacecraft going to loop around several planets including Mercury before entering orbit around the planet? In other words, why can't we fly directly to the planet like we do to the Moon?
Arthur from Vancouver
Mercury is one of the inner planets, so why will it take seven years to reach it? Cassini took seven years to reach Saturn, and the distance to Saturn is far greater. 57 million miles to Mercury compared to 744 million miles to Saturn, that's when they are the closest to Earth.
George from Mesquite
Will MESSENGER be able to study the solar wind while en-route, or will it be sleeping?
Enigman from Warren
Do you think there will be a heavier concentration of heavier metals on Mercury i.e., the platinum group or possibilities of greater amounts of Uranium?
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center