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The evolution of MESSENGER's orbit in its second extended mission

The evolution of MESSENGER's orbit in its second extended mission

NASA / JHUAPL / CIW

The evolution of MESSENGER's orbit in its second extended mission
This chart shows how the periapsis (closest approach point) of MESSENGER's orbit moves southward over time, and closer to Mercury. The figure also highlights the locations of hot seasons, when components of the spacecraft sheltered from direct sunlight are subjected to excessive heating from Mercury’s sunlit surface at low altitude.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.

Original image data dated on or about March 18, 2013

Explore related images: MESSENGER, trajectory diagrams

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