New and interesting links:
- New! MESSENGER Recognized as "Best of What’s New" in Aviation and Space by Popular Science. "The MESSENGER team is honored to receive this recognition from Popular Science," says Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "The intensive exploration of the Sun’s nearest planet has been an exhilarating adventure that we are delighted to share with the global public." Read what Popular Science had to say about MESSENGER [HERE].
- New! New Views of Diverse Worlds. Read about the MESSENGER mission and Mercury in this article based on a talk given by science team member Dave Blewett. The article appears in the Autumn, 2011, issue of Mercury, a publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
- New! The Sleepy Hollows of Mercury. Read about one of the latest surprises on Mercury or watch a ScienceCast video.
- New! MERCURY SPECIAL REPORT - The MESSENGER spacecraft is revealing new discoveries about the planet closest to our Sun. Listen to the Science Update special podcast here.
- New! Take a tour of some of the latest research findings on Mercury with a MESSENGER mission scientist as your guide! [Guided tours of Mercury in Google Earth]
- New! Want to build an instrument to fly on a NASA spacecraft? Learn how to turn a crazy idea into a MESSENGER instrument right here (well...sort of)!
- New! Make a mosaic of Mercury! Explore Mercury with this amazing Surface Interactive
- New! Do you have Google Earth? Would you like to explore Mercury on that platform? Try it here! Use these simple instructions.
- MESSENGER Education Module: Mission Design was added to the existing MESSENGER Edcuation Modules. This module is intended to provide an overarching framework for discussing exploration in general. Check it out!
- What is a flyby? What does it do for the spacecraft? Explore the Gravity Asssist Simulator to learn more here!
- Listen to a podcast of the night MESSENGER made history (MESSENGER orbit insertion: March 17, 2011) or of other MESSENGER events.
MESSENGER Team Delivers First Orbital Data to Planetary Data System
Data collected during MESSENGER’s first two months in orbit around Mercury have been released to the public by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all of NASA’s planetary mission data. Calibrated data from all seven of MESSENGER’s science instruments, plus radio science data from the spacecraft telecommunications system, are included in this release.
"It’s a real milestone for the first data ever obtained from orbit around Mercury to be available now in the PDS," says Nancy Chabot, Instrument Scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).
"Scientists around the world will use these data to better understand Mercury and the formation and evolution of our solar system as a whole," says Chabot, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. "However, to me, one of the most exciting aspects of this release is that these data now in the PDS are just the first of much more to come. MESSENGER continues to send us new data practically every day!"
The science results from these instruments have already shed light on questions about Mercury that have lingered for more than three decades. Many of these results were highlighted in a June 16 press conference at NASA headquarters.
For instance, says MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph McNutt of APL, "The imaging has highlighted the importance of volcanism in plains formation in the planet’s history, and the geochemical remote sensing instruments are providing new insights into formation scenarios for the planet. Geophysics data are yielding new information on Mercury’s internal structure, and data from the exosphere and magnetosphere instruments are giving us the first continuous view of Mercury’s interaction with its local space environment.
"The availability of these data via PDS will allow scientists around the world to study the data and begin making even more connections and discoveries," McNutt adds. [Learn more about the PDS release] [Learn more about the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)]
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About the MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach website
In developing this site, educators, scientists, and engineers are working together to bring the exciting science of MESSENGER to everyone. Here you will find a wealth of resources about the planet Mercury and about the MESSENGER mission. If you are a student or teacher make sure you check out the special sections containing educational materials and opportunities.
The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach Team
The MESSENGER education and public outreach program is conducted by a dedicated team of individuals and organizations with a long track record in space science education in both formal (classroom) and informal (museum and science center) settings. Read about the partner organizations here and meet the team that makes it all happen here.