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Planetary RadioOctober 28, 2014

A MESSENGER From Mercury—Principal Investigator Sean Solomon Returns

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Sean Solomon head shot
Sean Solomon

Principal Investigator for MESSENGER, Columbia University

MESSENGER is the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging mission that has been orbiting the innermost planet for more than three-and-half-years. Principal Investigator Sean Solomon returns with a status report as the mission enters its final phase. Emily Lakdawalla tells of a new geological mystery on Mars. Bill Nye reveals new technology that may make space easier and cheaper. There’s a Planetary Radio t-shirt waiting for the winner of this week’s What’s Up space trivia contest.


NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington


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Trivia Contest

This week's prize is a Planetary Radio v2.1 T-shirt.

This week's question:

What constellation winds its way between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, or the Big and Little Dippers?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Tuesday, November 4, at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

Who discovered comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the last full year that there were fewer than five working spacecraft at Mars?


There were only four active spacecraft at Mars in 2011: Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Opportunity.

Listen more: Mercury, mission status, Technology development, MESSENGER, Planetary Radio, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Bill Nye

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