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Seared by a Sun shining ten times stronger than it does at Earth, Mercury is a burnt-out cinder, a roasted Moon-like world -- or is it? NASA's MESSENGER mission, the first orbiter of the smallest planet, has revealed a tumultuous volcanic past, enigmatic recent "hollows," and a dynamic exosphere. And it's chasing after clues from Earth-based radar surveys that Mercury could be hiding water ice in permanently shadowed craters near its poles. 

Recent Blog Articles About Mercury

LPSC: Wrapping up Tuesday: The Moon, Mars, Mercury, Vesta, and back to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/12 01:27 CST

Well, it's already mid-day on the Friday a week after the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ended and I'm STILL not done writing up my notes.

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New Mercury Atlas

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/06 12:28 CST

The United States Geological Survey has just released a new atlas of Mercury, the first to be based upon the three flybys worth of image data gathered by the MESSENGER mission.

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Carnival of Space and Planetary Radio

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/08 12:30 CST

This week's Carnival of Space may be found at Steve's Astro Corner.

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Planetary Society Advent Calendar for December 4: Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/04 02:41 CST

Mercury is the smallest of the eight planets and, like Uranus and Neptune, has so far been studied only during flyby encounters.

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MESSENGER Rewrites Mercury Textbooks Even Before Entering Orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/05 08:00 CST

As MESSENGER zoomed toward Mercury for its third flyby, it was commanded to rotate in a maneuver that would help it test a surprising result from the second flyby.

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Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/07 04:11 CDT

The caption to today's image release from the MESSENGER team concerns their long-term campaign to study Mercury's brightness through a range of phase angles.

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MESSENGER gets two planets for the price of one

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/02 12:49 CDT

Here's a pretty shot of Mercury taken by MESSENGER on approach...but wait, what's that tiny little speck in the lower left corner of the photo?

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MESSENGER's Final Flyby of Mercury: Old Territory, New Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 09:00 CDT

MESSENGER is fast approaching the third and final Mercury flyby during its seven-year journey to the innermost planet.

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MESSENGER's Second Mercury Flyby: Ancient Geology, Active Atmosphere

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/10/30 09:00 CDT

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.

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Third Time's No Charm: MESSENGER's Third Gravity Assist Successful, But "Safe Mode" Interrupts Science

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/09/30 09:00 CDT

Yesterday, the MESSENGER spacecraft sailed past Mercury at an altitude of just 228 kilometres and a relative speed of 5.4 kilometers per second.

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