MESSENGER is a scientic investigation o the planet Mercury.Understanding Mercury, and the orces that have shaped it, isundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and theirevolution. The MESSENGER (MErcury Surace, Space ENvironment,GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission will orbit Mercuryollowing three fybys o that planet. The orbital phase willuse the fyby data as an initial guide to perorm a ocusedscientic investigation o this enigmatic world.MESSENGER will investigate key scientic questions regardingMercury’s characteristics and environment during these twocomplementary mission phases. Data are provided by anoptimized set o miniaturized space instruments and thespacecrat telecommunications system.MESSENGER will enter orbit about Mercury in March 2011 andcarry out comprehensive measurements or one Earth year.Orbital data collection concludes in March 2012.
3 August 2004
Delta II 7925H-9.5
2 August 2005
Venus ybys (2):
24 October 2006, 5 June 2007
Mercury ybys (3):
14 January 2008, 6 October 2008,29 September 2009
Mercury orbit insertion:
18 March 2011
Key Spacecrat Characteristics
requires no high-temperature electronics
temperatures near Mercury
Mercury Dual ImagingSystem (MDIS)
takes detailedcolor and monochromeimages o Mercury’s surace.
Gamma-Ray and NeutronSpectrometer (GRNS)
measures surace elements(including polar materials).
X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS)
maps elements in Mercury’scrust.
mapsMercury’s magnetic eld.
Mercury Laser Altimeter(MLA)
measures topographyo surace eatures; determineswhether Mercury has a fuidcore.
Mercury Atmosphericand Surace CompositionSpectrometer (MASCS)
measures atmosphericspecies and surace minerals.
Energetic Particle andPlasma Spectrometer (EPPS)
measures charged particles inMercury’s magnetosphere.
uses Dopplertracking to determineMercury’s mass distribution.
Sunshade AntennaEPPSGRNSMLAMASCS XRSMDISMAG