Thursday, March 17, 2011

MESSENGER arrival

The MESSENGER spacecraft is arriving at Mercury tonight at around 9 PM EST. It's taken 7 long years to get there, and it has been quite the ride. It will be a few days before images start coming to Earth as the systems all need to be checked and everything given the OK. You can find out more at the MESSENGER webpage.


I'm on my way to a meeting, but when I get back, I'll have a post on Green Astronomy for St. Paddies Day.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, I am meeting the MESSENGER team on Saturday! They are going to be a part of the Thrill of Discovery Workshop that I am attending at the Applied Physics Lab and Johns Hopkins University. I am really excited about it.


13 comments:

G said...

Coll I'll be checking it out

'Auana said...

:o epic of epic occassions!

Chuck said...

Green Astronomy? Sounds interesting!

kgp318 said...

Sweet...St. Patty's Day is one of my favorite holidays...I read all about the Messenger on it's website. I can't believe it took it 7 years to get there (wow)! March 24th seems to be an important day too...

ankmanpro said...

Great! Lookin forward to updates!

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I have to ask this. What kind of propulsion system was that probe using that it took seven years to get to Mercury? I didn't think Mercury was really that far away. Is it because it was "going against the solar tide" in that the projection of material emanating from the sun could potentially hinder progress?

Astronomy Pirate said...

Aaron, it carries a pretty normal liquid fuel propellant, hydrazine I think. But as for why it took so long, well, it is a kind of complicated astrophysics problem. But essentially, the spacecraft, leaving from Earth, has a much higher radial velocity then Mercury (pretty much it is going faster). So it has to take a series of small gravitational interactions with the planets to slow it down enough to match Mercury's orbital speed and be inserted.

Biff Tanner said...

Hell yes thanks man!

Erika said...

7 years.... that's amazing.....

I didn't even know of this

Erika said...

Wow.... 7 years....

I didn't even know anything about this.

Christophe said...

Can't wait to see the pictures come back.

Kim Anders said...

checking it out :P

Necroticism said...

Let's see what Messenger brings :)

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