User Name
Password
AppleNova Forums » AppleOutsider »

The Official * Mercury * Exploration Thread


Register Members List Calendar Search FAQ Posting Guidelines
The Official * Mercury * Exploration Thread
Page 1 of 2 [1] 2  Next Thread Tools
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2006-01-04, 13:58

Our first visit to the innermost rocky world in our system is in progress.

Main NASA page (with links to webcasts of launch)

MESSENGER Official Web Site

Why Mercury you ask?

Hot in the sun, you betcha... but we think there's also ice in the shadows.

Where is MESSENGER now?




Patience required for the heat as with the PKE out into the cold... not due to arrive in orbit of orb 1 until 2011.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2006-01-09, 10:13

NASA announced today that MESSENGER set a new communications record back in May 2005 by exchanging data via Laser pulses at a range exceeding 15 million miles (approximately 25 million kilometres). The previous record was only 4 million miles (6 million km).

full story here
  quote
T-Man
The Hoarding Packrat™
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
 
2006-01-09, 16:30

Very interesting that is. I'll be 20 in 2011....
  quote
hflomberg
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
 
2006-01-09, 18:39

I'll be 64 in 2011
  quote
Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NSA Archives
 
2006-01-09, 22:24

Suckerr.... now I don't feel so old anymore.

Kidding

I will however, be 40 by then. That's if I make it that long. I take nothing for granted anymore...

All right, back to your regularly scheduled star-gazing.

PS - anyone own the book called The Universe - 365 Days Was thinking of adding that to my Amazon cart soon. Haven't purchased any astrophotographic books in a couple years. Was hoping this one had some newer hubble images, Mars images, etc.

...into the light of a dark black night.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2006-01-12, 07:18

More Mercury news this week... the current issue of Nature discusses a theory that, just like Earth's Moon and Pluto's Charon, Mercury may have had a monster impact event as part of its formation which stripped off the planet's outer layer

Quote:
New computer modeling shows that the planet Mercury might have formed in a hit-and-run collision that stripped off its outer layers.

Astronomers have long assumed that collisions played a huge role in planet formation. The early solar system would have been loaded with dust that became rock that became planets, the thinking goes. Computer models generally have objects sticking together to make ever-larger objects or, in large crashes, two objects might become gravitationally bound.

In the new scenario, a glancing blow would dramatically alter the smaller object, even disintegrating it into pieces that could be some of the space rocks that land on Earth to this day.

"You end up with planets that leave the scene of the crime looking very different from when they came in—they can lose their atmosphere, crust, even the mantle, or they can be ripped apart into a family of smaller objects,” said Erik Asphaug, a researcher at the University of California at Santa Cruz who led the work.

The idea is detailed in the Jan. 12 issue of the journal Nature.

Other scientists have modeled collision scenarios in which the remains form two objects that end orbitally bound. Earth’s Moon, for example, is thought to have been formed when a Mars-sized object slammed into our fledgling planet. Pluto’s largest satellite, Charon, may have formed in a similar impact.


... story continues...
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2008-01-13, 11:18

Closest approach tomorrow!

Quote:
On Monday, Jan. 14, a pioneering NASA spacecraft will be the first to visit Mercury in almost 33 years when it soars over the planet to explore and snap close-up images of never-before-seen terrain. These findings could open new theories and answer old questions in the study of the solar system.

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging spacecraft, called MESSENGER, is the first mission sent to orbit the planet closest to our sun. Before that orbit begins in 2011, the probe will make three flights past the small planet, skimming as close as 124 miles above Mercury's cratered, rocky surface. MESSENGER's cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments will collect more than 1,200 images and make other observations during this approach, encounter and departure. It will make the first up-close measurements since Mariner 10 spacecraft's third and final flyby on March 16, 1975. When Mariner 10 flew by Mercury in the mid-1970s, it surveyed only one hemisphere.
See also the Flyby Dynamic Visualization from JHUAPL
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2009-05-01, 14:16

Latest Update (4 articles in Science published 1 May 2009):

Mercury subject to magnetic tornadoes, ion sputtering... which helps alter atmospheric composition of sodium, calcium, magnesium on daily basis... craters unlike any in the solar system, etc.

The telcon audio was streamed, but doesn't appear to be parked anywhere.

Press Conference materials link <-- larger images (and detailed captions for each) than the ones I've inserted below
Quote:
Originally Posted by Press Release

MESSENGER Reveals Mercury as a Dynamic Planet

Analyses of data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft’s second flyby of Mercury in October 2008 show that the planet’s atmosphere, magnetosphere, and geological past are all characterized by much greater levels of activity than scientists first suspected.

On October 6, 2008, the probe flew by Mercury for the second time, capturing more than 1,200 high-resolution and color images of the planet unveiling another 30 percent of Mercury’s surface that had never before been seen by spacecraft and gathering essential data for planning the remainder of the mission.



“MESSENGER’s second Mercury flyby provided a number of new findings,” says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “One of the biggest surprises was how strongly the planet’s magnetospheric dynamics changed from what we saw during the first Mercury flyby in January 2008. Another was the discovery of a large and unusually well preserved impact basin that was the focus for concentrated volcanic and deformational activity. The first detection of magnesium in Mercury’s exosphere and neutral tail provides confirmation that magnesium is an important constituent of Mercury’s surface materials. And our nearly global imaging coverage of the surface after this flyby has given us fresh insight into how the planet's crust was formed.”

These findings are reported in four papers published in the May 1 issue of Science magazine.


An Abundance of Magnesium

The probe’s Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer, or MASCS, detected significant amounts of magnesium in the planet’s atmosphere, reports William McClintock of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Detecting magnesium was not too surprising, but seeing it in the amounts and distribution we recorded was unexpected,” said McClintock, a MESSENGER co-investigator and lead author of one of the four papers. “This is an example of the kind of individual discoveries that the MESSENGER team will piece together to give us a new picture of how the planet formed and evolved.”



The instrument also measured other exospheric constituents during the October 6 flyby, including calcium and sodium, and he suspects that additional metallic elements from the surface including aluminum, iron, and silicon also contribute to the exosphere.


Radically Different Magnetosphere

MESSENGER observed a radically different magnetosphere at Mercury during its second flyby, compared with its earlier January 14 encounter, writes MESSENGER co-investigator James Slavin, of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, lead author of another paper. “During the first flyby, MESSENGER entered through the dusk side of the magnetic tail, measuring relatively calm dipole-like magnetic fields closer to the planet, and then exited the magnetosphere near dawn,” Slavin says. “Important discoveries were made, but scientists didn’t detect any dynamic features, other than some Kelvin-Helmholtz waves along its outer boundary, the magnetopause.”

But the second flyby was a totally different situation, he says. “ MESSENGER measured large magnetic flux leakage through the dayside magnetopause, about a factor of 10 greater than even what is observed at the Earth during its most active intervals. The high rate of solar wind energy input was evident in the great amplitude of the plasma waves and the large magnetic structures measured by the Magnetometer throughout the encounter.”



The magnetospheric variability observed thus far by MESSENGER supports the hypothesis that the great day-to-day changes in Mercury’s atmosphere may be due to changes in the shielding provided by the magnetosphere.


The Rembrandt Basin

One of the most exciting results of MESSENGER’s second flyby of Mercury is the discovery of a previously unknown large impact basin. The Rembrandt basin is more than 700 kilometers (430 miles) in diameter and if formed on the east coast of the United States would span the distance between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

The Rembrandt basin formed about 3.9 billion years ago, near the end of the period of heavy bombardment of the inner Solar System, suggests MESSENGER Participating Scientist Thomas Watters, lead author of another of the papers. Although ancient, the Rembrandt basin is younger than most other known impact basins on Mercury.



“This is the first time we’ve seen terrain exposed on the floor of an impact basin on Mercury that is preserved from when it formed” says Watters. “Landforms such as those revealed on the floor of Rembrandt are usually completely buried by volcanic flows.”


Mercury’s Crustal Evolution

Just over a year ago, half of Mercury was unknown. Globes of the planet were blank on one side. With image data from MESSENGER, scientists have now seen 90 percent of the planet’s surface at high resolution and can start to assess what this global picture is telling us about the history of the planet's crustal evolution, says Brett Denevi, a MESSENGER team member at Arizona State University and lead author of one of the papers.

“After mapping the surface, we see that approximately 40 percent is covered by smooth plains,” she says. “Many of these smooth plains are interpreted to be of volcanic origin, and they are globally distributed (in contrast with the Moon, which has a nearside/farside asymmetry in the abundance of volcanic plains). But we haven’t yet seen evidence for a feldspar-rich crust, which makes up the majority of the lunar highlands and is thought to have formed by flotation during the cooling of an early lunar magma ocean. Instead, much of Mercury's crust may have formed through repeated volcanic eruptions in a manner more similar to the crust of Mars than to that of the Moon.”



Scientists continue to examine data from the first two flybys and are preparing to gather even more information from a third flyby of the planet on September 29, 2009.

“The third Mercury flyby is our final ‘dress rehearsal’ for the main performance of our mission: insertion of our probe into orbit around Mercury in March 2011 and the continuous collection of information about the planet and its environment for one year,” adds Solomon. “The orbital phase of our mission will be like staging two flybys per day. We’ll be drinking from a fire hose of new data, but at least we’ll never be thirsty. Mercury has been coy in revealing its secrets slowly so far, but in less than two years the innermost planet will become a close friend.”
Should get even more interesting as we discover more.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
@_@ Artman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Philly
 
2009-05-01, 14:50

This is amazing data. Seems that whenever we think might be what we see, it's something else entirely.

I watched Sunshine last week and this is one of my favorite scenes.

"I always question the received reality. The consensus reality is often intentionally misleading." - George Carlin
  quote
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
Send a message via ICQ to chucker Send a message via AIM to chucker Send a message via MSN to chucker Send a message via Yahoo to chucker Send a message via Skype™ to chucker 
2009-05-01, 15:01

I definitely prefer it over git.

Whatdoyoumeanthatwasn'tthesubject?
  quote
PKIDelirium
Nobody bumps my lock
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Xenia, Ohio
 
2009-05-01, 16:31

Have they found a girl with blue hair yet?
  quote
alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Send a message via ICQ to alcimedes  
2009-05-01, 16:47

I think I was reading that Mercury forms funnels that actually end up directing plasma from the Sun down to the planets service. Bad ass.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2009-05-01, 17:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
I think I was reading that Mercury forms funnels that actually end up directing plasma from the Sun down to the planets service. Bad ass.
Unknown until Flyby 2, when there was serendipitous solar activity to highlight/trigger associated magnetosphere reactions. (Including aforementioned magnetic tornadoes to channel plasma to the surface and sputter the surface atoms off to form a unique atmospheric mix each day... which just sounds so awesome)

Magnetosphere much weaker than Earth, (not detectable from here, and barely detected during Flyby 1), but after 'triggering' by solar activity near Flyby 2, observed to be far more variable and sensitive.
Flyby 3 in October and final orbit in 2011 should improve the data significantly.

Proximity to CME and inverse square law for other forces makes for an interesting world to watch. Having the right robot observer in the right place at the right time has just been proven critical.

Combine this with STEREO Mission data (just passed L4 and L5 on their way around the Sun), and things are looking bright.

Still digesting most of the results, but thought they deserved sharing.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
Xaqtly
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-05-01, 18:15

it's pretty awesome. I love seeing what our neighbors look like.
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2009-05-01, 18:42

You can get arrested for that, dude.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2009-09-28, 15:17

Next close approach/trajectory maneuver Tuesday.


Quote:
The image taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft on Sept. 27, 2009. shows the planet Mercury as it appeared to the probe 55 hours prior to the closest approach of its third flyby, which was set for Sept. 29 2009 at 5:55 pm EDT. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/CWI.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2009-09-28 at 19:17. Reason: Link added
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-08, 14:41

Observer story on Messenger

Oddly, the mission which was launched in 2006 has completed 15 solar orbits.

So does that make it a 4 year or a 15 year trip so far?

Of course, if it were a Klingon ship, it'd be back in time by now...

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
arteggio
There are some who call me… Timm?
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Within
 
2011-03-08, 15:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Observer
So Messenger was sent on a course that took it once past the Earth, once past Venus and then three times past Mercury itself so that it approached its target at the right speed and direction.
It fascinates me to consider how, sometimes, we can throw a marble into the air and get it to land more or less right where we wanted it, predicted it, and made it to go. The universe is so understandable while so mysterious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curiousuburb View Post
So does that make it a 4 year or a 15 year trip so far?
6-going-on-7 years, being launched in 2004? It's 2011.

Nonetheless, I suppose it's made a 6.6 Earth-year trip and a 15 Mercury Messenger-year trip, all at the same time. Just like Earth can do one year while Venus does 1.6 and Jupiter about a tenth... You just have to pick which planet you want to be on. That's how I see it from my non-mathematician point of view anyway.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-08, 16:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by arteggio View Post
6-going-on-7 years, being launched in 2004? It's 2011.
Durrrr... looked at start of thread rather than start of mission. /facepalm

Meanwhile... Messenger has tweeted it's latest pre-burn update.

Last edited by curiousuburb : 2011-03-08 at 17:51.
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2011-03-08, 17:59

I am so ticked - got invited to the MOI event at the APL labs... and won't be in DC until three days later.

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-17, 18:28

Mercury Orbit Insertion Live Webcast at 7:55 EDT



NASA TV will be streaming coverage of the event.

Quote:
March 17, 2011
MESSENGER Orbit Maneuver a "Go"
With less than six hours to go, MESSENGER is on schedule for its 8:45 p.m. (EDT) rendezvous with Mercury. “The command sequence containing instructions to maneuver MESSENGER into orbit about Mercury is now executing, the science instruments have been turned off, and the propulsion system is conditioned for its big show this evening,” says MESSENGER Project Manager Peter Bedini.
If you can pull yourself away from pending bombing of Libya or reactor and post quake/tsunami recovery in Japan, we're about to orbit the innermost planet.

Go Messenger!

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2011-03-17, 19:02

Live! Plays more reliably in QuickTime Player than Safari, surprisingly.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-17, 19:15

http://mfile.akamai.com/7111/live/re...asx?bkup=22194 in Firefox kicks open QT Player as a nice 640 x 360 stream

But yeah, they do like their WMP 9 codecs at NASA TV.

Luckily, with the right codecs, QT likes it too.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-17, 20:43

MOI Burn completed successfully!

Webcast continues to provide details and interviews... downlink telemetry and data pending.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2011-03-17, 20:53

And officially in orbit now!
  quote
curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2011-03-17, 21:18

The tweets from @CassiniSaturn and @Voyager2 to @Messenger2011 "one orbiter to another" were a nice touch too.
Nearest and farthest from the sun (96 & 116 AU for V1 and V2 respectively). #MOI2011

Now a few weeks of commissioning instruments and then the science teams will start their year of investigation in earnest.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  quote
hflomberg
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
 
2011-03-18, 01:13

I was in Southeast asia during the first APOLLO LANDING. I remember that the Abbot of Wat (A major temple in Bangkok) was concerned that the american Astronauts did not defile the Moon Goddess.

I guess he knew us better than most

How do you read 80 column cards on this computer?
  quote
Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NSA Archives
 
2011-03-18, 09:25

Wow, I would've thought it would be impossible for a spacecraft to get close enough to orbit Mercury without frying under the intense radiation from the sun. I gather we must be orbiting during the "cold period" of the orbit but that only lasts for what, 30 days or something? How long does the orbital part of the mission last?

...into the light of a dark black night.
  quote
Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2011-03-18, 11:15

Ongoing. *grin* (Well, one year is the official mission, but they hope to keep it going for years past that.)

The craft has a heavy duty shield on one side that always faces the sun. The other side is about 20C. Nifty, eh?

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
  quote
thegelding
feeling my oats
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: there are nice people here...that makes me happy
Send a message via AIM to thegelding  
2011-03-18, 11:53

i beat those solar panels put out hella energy

g
  quote
Posting Rules Navigation
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Page 1 of 2 [1] 2  Next

Post Reply

Forum Jump
Thread Tools
Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Official *Saturn* Exploration Thread curiousuburb AppleOutsider 226 2017-09-15 06:26
Mars Exploration Thread Redux curiousuburb AppleOutsider 128 2016-03-14 05:16
The Official: Little Things that Rule™ thread. Moogs AppleOutsider 101 2013-08-14 14:24
The Official Dating Commentary™ Thread ShadowOfGed AppleOutsider 63 2006-05-08 10:13
An (official) welcome thread _Ω_ Feedback 1 2004-06-27 21:07


« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:32.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2019, AppleNova