by Emily Lakdawalla
Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!
• October 30, 2008
When MESSENGER flew past Mercury for a second time on October 6, 2008, its cameras snapped photos of an impressive 30 percent of the planet's surface that had never previously been seen by spacecraft.
• September 30, 2008
Yesterday, the MESSENGER spacecraft sailed past Mercury at an altitude of just 228 kilometres and a relative speed of 5.4 kilometers per second.
• July 03, 2008
As MESSENGER flew past the night side of Mercury in January, its Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) scooped up ions from an atmosphere so tenuous that it's usually called an "exosphere."
• January 30, 2008
Just two weeks after MESSENGER's first flyby of Mercury, the mission's science team presented their first impressions from the long-awaited second look at the innermost planet.
• January 18, 2008
On the evening of Tuesday, January 15, the MESSENGER science team crowded around a computer screen, anxiously awaiting their first view of the previously unseen hemisphere of Mercury.
• January 10, 2008
Mercury scientists' very long wait for new data from a spacecraft at Mercury will finally come to an end on Monday, when MESSENGER makes its first close approach to the innermost planet.
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