What's up in the solar system in September 2009: MESSENGER's 3rd Mercury flyby coming up!
Tearing myself away from obsessive monitoring of the Station fire to do some real work: I'm going to make an attempt to make this a monthly feature, looking ahead to the next calendar month. Since it's been less than two weeks since my last one, there'll be a bit of repetition this time around. So, what's up in interplanetary space in September?First, some sad news: as I reported earlier, contact with India's Chandrayaan-1 moon orbiter was lost on August 27, 2009 at 20:00 UTC, and ISRO quickly declared the mission to be over. According to a story printed in The Hindu today, the cause of the failure is believed to be radiation damage to the spacecraft's power supply:
[ISRO Chairman Madhavan] Nair, who is here in connection with the eighth international conference on