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1. Back to Mercury! Europe and Japan's BepiColombo mission moves closer to launch

(Web Page; Mon Jul 17 16:35:00 CDT 2017)

Sending a spacecraft to Mercury is hard. First of all, it gets pretty hot that close to the Sun—about 430 degrees Celsius—which is bad for a space robot's electronics. Secondly, it's hard to get there. Any spacecraft visiti...

Description: Next year, a pair of probes head to Mercury to answer outstanding questions about our innermost planet, as well as the formation of the solar system.

2. BepiColombo's launch date has slipped to August 2015

(Web Page; Sun Sep 14 10:34:00 CDT 2014)

ESA announced this morning that the launch of their BepiColombo mission, a cooperative effort with JAXA, has been delayed from its originally planned July 2014 to the backup launch window in August 2015, stating by way of explanation tha...

Description: ESA announced this morning that the launch of their BepiColombo mission, a cooperative effort with JAXA, has been delayed from its originally planned July 2014 to the backup launch window in August 2015.

3. #Mercury2018: From MESSENGER to BepiColombo and beyond

(Web Page; Thu May 17 14:14:00 CDT 2018)

About 130 Mercury fans gathered in Maryland this month for a meeting about “Mercury: Current and Future Science of the Innermost Planet.” The Mercury community is eagerly anticipating the launch of BepiColombo this fall, so i...

Description: A Mercury meeting held May 1-3 summarized the current and future science of the innermost planet. Emily Lakdawalla was there and shares her notes.

4. Four mission assembly progress reports: ExoMars TGO, InSight, OSIRIS-REx, and BepiColombo

(Web Page; Thu May 28 06:12:00 CDT 2015)

2015 has seen few deep-spacecraft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. You can see the list in Olaf Frohn's always-excellent "what's up in the solar system"...

Description: 2015 has seen few deep-space-craft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. All of the missions under development have reported significant milestones recently.

5. A Clearer Impression of Degas Crater

(Web Page; Mon Oct 06 10:09:00 CDT 2014)

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.” —Degas Like many artists and authors, impressionist painter Edgar ...

Description: MESSENGER is revealing the first planet in sharp detail.

6. Orion service module, Ariane development highlight new ESA budget

(Web Page; Fri Nov 21 12:54:00 CST 2014)

Representatives from the European Space Agency’s 20 member states and Canada approved a 10 billion euro budget (13 billion U.S. dollars) for 2013-2017 during their Ministerial Council last week in Naples, Italy. Unlike NASA, the ES...

Description: Representatives from the ESA approved a 10 billion euro budget for 2013-2017 during their Ministerial Council last week in Naples, Italy.

7. Brown-Vernadsky Microsymposium 2009: Introduction

(Web Page; Mon Apr 23 02:00:00 CDT 2012)

Every year at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference there is a weekend meeting co-hosted by Brown University and the Vernadsky Institute called "Microsymposium," with a narrowly-defined theme. This year's Microsymposium was titled ...

Description: Brown-Vernadsky Microsymposium 2009: Introduction

8. Planetary Exploration Timelines: A Look Ahead to 2016

(Web Page; Mon Jan 04 16:55:00 CST 2016)

How many planetary exploration missions are there, and where are they? These days, it's hard to keep track, because there are so many. I plan to begin the new year by taking stock of active missions, figuring out what each has set out to...

Description: How many planetary exploration missions are there, and where are they? These days, it's hard to keep track, because there are so many. I plan to begin the new year by taking stock of active missions, figuring out what each has set out to do and accomplished so far, but first I want to step back to consider the spread of missions across the solar system as a whole.

9. MESSENGER's First Mercury Flyby Highly Successful

(Web Page; Thu Nov 19 16:05:00 CST 2015)

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. The moment was more dramatic than initially expected,...

Description: 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.

10. LPSC 2015: MESSENGER's low-altitude campaign at Mercury

(Web Page; Tue May 29 10:54:00 CDT 2018)

The MESSENGER mission is nearly over. In fact, principal investigator Sean Solomon said at a press briefing last week, "the mission will come to a natural close, reaching a periapsis altitude of zero, otherwise known as impact on Mercury...

Description: At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.

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