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MESSENGER Webcast: Mission Overview
Program Introduction and Welcome

Narrator: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is about to embark on a historical voyage to mysterious, moonless Mercury, the least-explored planet in our Solar System. MESSENGER's mission is the first visit to the planet since Mariner's flyby nearly 30 years ago. We are about to discover more about the extreme nature of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.

Live from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Direct! Presents "MESSENGER: Mission To Mercury."

James Kennedy: Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining NASA Direct's coverage of the launch of the MESSENGER. I'm Jim Kennedy, director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Each planet in our Solar System has a unique story to tell us. Mercury is no exception. It's one of the densest planets, it's the closest to the Sun, and it has a year that's only 88 days long. It's also one of the least explored, and that's where NASA's MESSENGER probe steps in.

Although Mariner 10 was sent to fly by Mercury, MESSENGER will be the first spacecraft ever sent to orbit the planet. Its scientific instruments will send us detailed information about a world we know very little about. MESSENGER will blast off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Delta II heavy launch vehicle. I hope you enjoy today's webcast and continue to follow the progress of the MESSENGER mission.