Post 1900 (NASA Missions-Messenger)
Exploring Our Solar System
MESSENGER stands for Mercury surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging.
MESSENGER is only the second spacecraft sent to mercury, the last one - mariner 10 completed its mission in 1995.
The spacecraft circled the sun 15 times before it settled in mercury's orbit.
To reach the Mercury orbit, the spacecraft traveled 7.9 billion kilometers (4.9 billion miles).
Total Cost- About $446 million
Mission Type- Flyby, Orbiter
Spacecraft Mass- 507.9 kg
What are MESSENGER's scientific goals?
MESSENGER is designed to answer six scientific questions-
- Why is Mercury so dense?
- What is the geologic history of Mercury?
- What is the nature of Mercury's magnetic field?
- What is the structure of Mercury's core?
- What are the unusual materials at Mercury's poles?
- What volatile's are important at Mercury?
The mission was to become the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, messenger followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus, and three flybys of Mercury. This impressive journey yielded the first return of new spacecraft information from Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago. Messenger was launched on the 3rd of Aug in 2004.