Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Mercury is the smallest of the eight planets and, like Uranus and Neptune, has so far been studied only during flyby encounters.
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.
The Japanese space agency's science missions have an abundance of names. They start out with a programmatic name, like MUSES-A, PLANET-A, etc. -- which might be like calling NEAR
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.
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?
Third Time's No Charm: MESSENGER's Third Gravity Assist Successful, But "Safe Mode" Interrupts Science
MESSENGER is fast approaching the third and final Mercury flyby during its seven-year journey to the innermost planet.
Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.
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.
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
It's time to check in on what's going on with our trusty robots around the solar system.
I thought it would be fun to start the week by taking stock of what's going on with all the active planetary missions out there.
I spent a large portion of the day at the Lunar and Planetary Institute's library and presented my own poster during the poster sessions, so my coverage of Thursday's sessions is limited.
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.
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.
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.
The Applied Physics Lab issued a press release this evening stating that the MESSENGER mission's second flyby of Venus was successful.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is zeroing in on Venus for the most significant gravity assist maneuver of its long journey to Mercury.
The MESSENGER team announced today that they accomplished the penultimate trajectory correction maneuver necessary to line the spacecraft up for its second gravity-assist flyby of Venus.
A press release just hit my mailbox stating that MESSENGER has been heard from since its Venus flyby, so there are now only four flybys to go before MESSENGER will be in orbit at Mercury!