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Where is Mercury Now

MESSENGER: An Audio Tour

Listen to MESSENGER mission updates! Here you will find podcasts, radio broadcasts and other audio clips related to MESSENGER and the science team discoveries. QUICK LINKS: [365 Days of Astronomy Podcasts] [Science Update Podcasts] [Other Radio Broadcasts and Podcasts]

365 Days of Astronomy Project Podcasts

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Ice and Organic Goo On Mercury; December 10th, 2012

In a series of papers published in Science, scientists from the MESSENGER Mission to Planet Mercury announced the discovery of water ice and organic volatile compounds on the surface of Mercury. AAAS Science Update host Bob Hirshon spoke with key scientists on the team at a NASA press conference.
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MESSENGER’s End Game; November 23rd, 2012

The MESSENGER Mission to Mercury is now in its second year of orbit around the planet. At a recent meeting, the MESSENGER science team discussed the future of the spacecraft, including some thrilling possibilities for low altitude imaging and data gathering, but also the possibility that new budget constraints may make these plans moot. In this podcast, Bob Hirshon speaks with MESSENGER Mission Design Lead Engineer about the different scenarios.
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Math Power!; September 21st, 2012

Ever ask your beleaguered mathematics teacher “What am I going to DO with this stuff in real life?” Mathematician Scott Turner, at the Johns Hopkin Applied Physics Laboratory, has no end of answers. To him, the better question is “What CAN’T you do with math?” AAAS Science Update host Bob Hirshon spoke with Scott about how he uses mathematics to tackle tough problems presented by interplanetary space exploration.
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Viewing Mercury with X-Ray Vision; June 15th, 2012

While Superman can see through walls using X-ray vision, instruments aboard the MESSENGER spacecraft can use X-rays to do a lot more: they can determine the presence and abundance of a host of important elements in the planet’s surface. AAAS Science Update host Bob Hirshon spoke with geologist and MESSENGER post doctoral fellow Shoshana Weider about what the X-ray view is revealing about the planet.
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Take Mercury for a Spin; May 11th, 2012

The Google Earth platform is useful for more than just checking out Earth-bound topography and features. AAAS Science Update host Bob Hirshon spoke with ace programmer Jason Smith, of Silicon Valet, about how he converts raw image data of the planet Mercury taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft into KML files that map the imagery onto the Google Earth sphere. The result? A detailed Mercury globe that anyone can take for a spin.
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As the Sun Burps; March 9th, 2012

When the Sun emits what is euphemistically called a “coronal mass ejection,” belching billions of tons of ionized plasma into space, satellites can fail and power grids can shut down on Earth, 150 km away. So imagine the effects on Mercury, just a third of the distance from the Sun, and defended by a much weaker magnetic field. In this podcast, Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks with MESSENGER scientist Daniel Baker, Director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, about how violent space weather is both an opportunity and a challenge for MESSENGER’s mission to Mercury.
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365 (More) Days of MESSENGER; February 10th, 2012

The MESSENGER mission to planet Mercury has nearly completed its primary mission: a year of data-gathering while in orbit around Mercury. Now Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks to MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph McNutt about the newly approved extended mission that adds an additional year of orbital observations, and what the scientists hope to learn.
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MESSENGER Overturns Origin of Mercury; November 11th, 2011

Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks to Research Scientist Patrick Peplowski at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory about new findings from the MESSENGER spacecraft that contradict the most popular theories on the origins of the planet Mercury.
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Hollows on Mercury; October 14th, 2011

Podcaster Bob Hirshon speaks with David Blewett, a planetary scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and member of the MESSENGER science team, about a new landform discovered on the surface of Mercury.
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Orbiting Between the Fire and Frying Pan; August 12th, 2011

Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks with MESSENGER Mission Specialist Eric Finnegan at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory about the challenge of putting a spacecraft in orbit around the planet Mercury and keeping it there.
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Prize Winning Planetary Research; July 8th, 2011

Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks with planetary geologist Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Murchie was recently awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Award, NASA’s highest honor for non-government personnel. Murchie discusses his work on imaging systems for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the MESSENGER Mission to Planet Mercury.
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One Giant Leap For Mission Design; June 24th, 2011

Science Update host Bob Hirshon speaks with the SciBox team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. SciBox is a revolutionary mission planning tool that allows scientists to pack over five times more data gathering activity into a planetary exploration mission, while reducing planning costs. In other words, more science for less money.
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MESSENGER Orbit Live; March 23, 2011

Science Update host Bob Hirshon reports from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, as the MESSENGER spacecraft arrives at the planet Mercury. Featuring interviews with key mission scientists, including Principle Investigator Sean Solomon.
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MESSENGER Meets Mercury; March 11, 2011

After a trip of over six and a half years, the MESSENGER spacecraft finally goes into orbit around the planet Mercury on the morning of March 18, Universal Time, or the evening of March 17th Washington, DC time. Bob Hirshon spoke with Deputy Project Scientist Louise Prockter about the preparations for orbital insertion during these climactic final days.
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Planetary Science at AGU 2010 Conference; December 17th, 2010

This week, the American Geophysical Union held its annual conference in San Francisco and intrepid 365 Days of Astronomy podcaster Bob Hirshon was there. In this podcast, he brings us highlights from the sessions and posters, including a planned mission to the rings of Saturn and a chat with a scientist who consults on Hollywood films.
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Mercury is for Art Lovers; November 12th, 2010

Where can you find Picasso, Stravinsky and Mark Twain all together—aside from the Smithsonian? On the surface of the planet Mercury. The International Astronomical Union decreed that all craters on the planet should be named for notable artists, musicians and writers. Bob Hirshon spoke with planetary geologist David Blewett, a scientist working on the MESSENGER mission to planet Mercury, about how scientists are matching famous names to craters and other land forms.
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Googling the Solar System; September 10th, 2010

Google Earth is a powerful tool for exploring our planet and, increasingly, a way to visit other planets as well. In this episode of the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast, AAAS radio producer and media education director Bob Hirshon interviews Google’s Eric Kolb, a key player in the Google Earth project and a planetary geologist by training. Hirshon heads up a project to add Mercury to the family of planets offered by Google, along with a suite of Mercury tours and games.
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Bringing Children to Mercury; August 13th, 2010

This summer, a team of educators from across the United States came to Washington, DC to learn about the MESSENGER Mission to Planet Mercury and a set of learning materials designed to send K through 12 students on a (virtual) mission to the planet. Podcaster Bob Hirshon met with the MESSENGER Fellows and the project’s manager to learn more about it.
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A Champion at Keeping Cool; July 9th, 2010

July is hot enough here in Washington, DC, but nothing compared to the heat the MESSENGER spacecraft must endure as it prepares to orbit Mercury. This episode of the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast explores the techniques used to keep the spacecraft operational at temperatures hot enough to melt lead, along with new work on an even hotter mission: the Solar Probe, which will have to withstand temperatures four times hotter.
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The Hunt For Vulcanoids; March 12th, 2010

For nearly a hundred years, scientists have wondered if there might be a band of asteroids as large as 60 km wide orbiting the Sun, in a gravitationally stable zone that’s closer to the sun than the orbit of Mercury. The MESSENGER mission to the planet Mercury is now hunting for the elusive objects, and could soon solve the mystery.
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Mercury: Close Encounter for the Third Time; October 20th, 2009

On September 29th, the MESSENGER spacecraft made its third and final flyby over the surface of the planet Mercury, in preparation for orbital insertion in March of 2011. The mission is the first attempt to put a spacecraft in orbit around the planet. The planet’s small size and proximity to the Sun make this task incredibly difficult to achieve. Today’s podcast takes you live to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where the MESSENGER Engineering and Operations team follows the spacecraft as it makes its third flyby of Mercury.

Science Update Podcasts

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Comet Encounters; January 8th, 2013

Podcaster Bob Hirshon speaks with MESSENGER science team member Jim McAdams about a newly discovered comet will be visible from Earth and from the MESSENGER spacecraft in November, 2013.
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Mercury Special Report; October 6th, 2011

Podcaster Bob Hirshon speaks with MESSENGER science team members David Blewett, Thomas Zurbuchen, and Patrick Peplowski about new discoveries on Mercury’s surface and in its magnetoshpere.
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Mercury Hollows; October 4th, 2011

David Blewett, a science team member for NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, talks about newly identified mysterious hollows on the Mercury’s surface with podcaster Bob Hirshon.
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Mercury Origins; October 3rd, 2011

Learn about the surprising details MESSENGER is revealing about the origins of the planet Mercury in an interview with NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft science team member Patrick Peplowski by Bob Hirshon.

Other Radio Broadcasts and Podcasts

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Public Radio International; April 6th, 2011

Listen to an interview with Sean Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator, by Warren Olney on the Public Radio International show, Reporter’s Notebook. Solomon talks about the inception of MESSENGER’s orbital operations phase and the exciting science we hope to learn over the coming year.
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Have you ever wondered what a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun might sound like? MESSENGER team members "sonified" data collected by two NASA spacecraft during the latest CME. Listen and watch [HERE]!