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Mercury

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

MESSENGER Scientists 'Astonished' to Find Water in Mercury's Thin Atmosphere

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/03 09:00 CDT

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."

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MESSENGER's First Mercury Flyby Reveals a "Whole New Planet"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/01/30 08:00 CST

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.

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MESSENGER's First Mercury Flyby Highly Successful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/01/18 08:00 CST

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.

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MESSENGER Set for First Spacecraft Swing Past Mercury in 33 Years

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/01/10 08:00 CST

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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Flyby of Venus Speeds MESSENGER Onward to Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/06/05 09:00 CDT

The MESSENGER spacecraft is zeroing in on Venus for the most significant gravity assist maneuver of its long journey to Mercury.

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