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NASA spacecraft now circling Mercury a first (orbit is right on the money)
Yahoo ^ | 3/17/11 | AP

Posted on 03/17/2011 8:44:44 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON – For the first time, Earth has a regular orbiting eye-in-the-sky spying on the solar system's smallest and strangest planet, Mercury.

NASA's spacecraft called Messenger successfully veered into a pinpoint orbit Thursday night after a 6 1/2-year trip and 4.9 billion miles and tricky maneuvering to fend off the gravitational pull of the sun. It is the fifth planet in our solar system that NASA has orbited, in addition to the Earth and the moon.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: circling; mercury; messenger; nasa

1 posted on 03/17/2011 8:44:47 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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MESSENGER
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/index.php

March 17, 2011
MESSENGER Begins Historic Orbit around Mercury
At 9:10 p.m. EDT, engineers in the MESSENGER Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., received the anticipated radiometric signals confirming nominal burn shutdown and successful insertion of the MESSENGER probe into orbit around the planet Mercury.


2 posted on 03/17/2011 8:46:09 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed .. Monthly Donor Onboard .. Obama: Epic Fail or Bust!!!)
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First Orbital Image Planned for March 29
Release Date: March 14, 2011
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/image.php?gallery_id=2&image_id=429

..
This first planned image is scheduled to be taken on March 29, 2011, 7:40 UTC, or 3:40 am EDT. Over the subsequent six hours, MESSENGER will acquire 364 images in total before beginning to downlink the data to Earth.
..


3 posted on 03/17/2011 8:47:23 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed .. Monthly Donor Onboard .. Obama: Epic Fail or Bust!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge; KevinDavis

cool.


4 posted on 03/17/2011 8:52:20 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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To: NormsRevenge

John Batchelor just talked about this on his show. How exciting.


5 posted on 03/17/2011 8:54:04 PM PDT by Current Occupant (If you're not pi$$ed, you ain't paying attention!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Cant wait for the pics of the poles


6 posted on 03/17/2011 9:11:25 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: NormsRevenge

This must be doing wonders for Islamic self-esteem.


7 posted on 03/17/2011 9:36:06 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Every knife in my back pushes me forward.)
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Better to have them circling Mercury than Uranus, I always aay.


8 posted on 03/17/2011 9:43:16 PM PDT by llevrok (SEIU? STFU.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Bet they won’t have any trouble with poor lighting on the sunny side.


9 posted on 03/17/2011 9:45:31 PM PDT by The Cajun
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To: NormsRevenge

Uh... this may be a dumb question, but if it’s ninety-three million miles to the sun, why is it four and a half billion miles to Mercury...?


10 posted on 03/17/2011 10:38:13 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jack Hammer
NASA overshot and had to turn around :^)
Just guessing they used a lot of gravity assist by coming close to other planets to get there. Long on flight time, but easy on fuel.
11 posted on 03/17/2011 10:46:37 PM PDT by The Cajun
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To: Jack Hammer
...why is it four and a half billion miles to Mercury...?

Good question. Another ARTICLE says Messenger traveled 96 million miles. Much more plausible, eh. Amongst other things it made three passes around Mercury before being inserted into orbit.

12 posted on 03/17/2011 11:02:32 PM PDT by ForGod'sSake (You have only two choices: SUBMIT or RESIST with everything you've got!!!)
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To: Jack Hammer

Orbital mechanics. Our spacecraft don’t have the engines to ignore Newtonian laws yet, so we have to do everything using gravity assist from various other planets. Plus, getting something close to the sun without having it fall in is really tricky. We had to fly the craft by Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury twice (including the final orbital insertion). That doesn’t include a couple of solar orbits as the craft traversed the intervening space between each of the other planets. You can see the whole trajectory at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/MESSENGER_trajectory.svg


13 posted on 03/17/2011 11:07:29 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: ForGod'sSake

And that article would be wrong. The spacecraft is now about 93-96 million miles away from earth, but the actual distance traveled is the 4 billion miles. It took more than 6 years to get to Mercury, as it had to do a whole bunch of orbits around the sun along the way. My previous post has a link to the trajectory diagram.


14 posted on 03/17/2011 11:10:19 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: NormsRevenge

15 posted on 03/17/2011 11:13:51 PM PDT by garjog
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To: Little Pig

So did the probe go back in time, like the Enterprise when it used the Sun’s gravitational field?


16 posted on 03/17/2011 11:25:58 PM PDT by boop ("Let's just say they'll be satisfied with LESS"... Ming the Merciless)
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To: Jack Hammer

The first time, we get halfway across
when we run out of gasoline.

We got to go back.

Then I take twice as much gasoline.

This time, we were just about to land,
maybe feet...

when, what do you think,
we run out of gasoline again.

Back we go and get more gas.

This time, I take plenty gas.

We get halfway over,
when what do you think happened?

We forgot the airplane.


17 posted on 03/17/2011 11:32:42 PM PDT by Cyman
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To: The Cajun
Bet they won’t have any trouble with poor lighting on the sunny side.

Bet they won't have poor lighting on the other side either. Plenty of mercury in a CFL light, so there must be plenty of CFL light on mercury.

18 posted on 03/17/2011 11:32:47 PM PDT by C210N (0bama, Making the US safe for Global Marxism)
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To: Cyman

Thanks, Chico.


19 posted on 03/17/2011 11:35:19 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jack Hammer

Gotta love a guy that knows his Marx brothers!


20 posted on 03/17/2011 11:46:47 PM PDT by Cyman
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To: C210N

LOL. You went a long way for that one.


21 posted on 03/17/2011 11:51:55 PM PDT by The Cajun
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To: Little Pig

Thanks.


22 posted on 03/18/2011 12:09:23 AM PDT by ForGod'sSake (You have only two choices: SUBMIT or RESIST with everything you've got!!!)
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To: Cyman

Hooray for Captain Spalding, the African explorer -

Did someone call me Shnorer?

Hooray, hooray, hooray!

Yes, I once shot an elephant in my pajamas;
How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know....


23 posted on 03/18/2011 12:12:18 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: NormsRevenge

"Can someone land it in the shopping mall
next to where the astronauts first planted
an American flag during the 7th Lunar Landing?"

24 posted on 03/18/2011 6:23:57 AM PDT by theDentist (fybo; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
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To: theDentist

I am disappointed in NASA. Could someone explain to me just how this helps moozlums learn about space technology (nobama’s ordered purpose of NASA)?


25 posted on 03/18/2011 6:28:14 AM PDT by hal ogen (1st amendment or reeducation camp?)
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To: hal ogen

Back in the days of real early history, 1930 or something, Abba ka-Dabra was looking at the Sun through a magic crystal and noticed a bright dot near the sun. He named it “mihir ku ri” which translates to “Mohammed’s goat”. NASA decided to investigate to see if it really was a goat, and to confirm his discovery.


26 posted on 03/18/2011 6:53:40 AM PDT by theDentist (fybo; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
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To: GeronL
cool.

Uh, considering it's Mercury we're talking about, that's probably not how I'd describe it.

27 posted on 03/18/2011 7:32:08 AM PDT by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: NormsRevenge
received the anticipated radiometric signals confirming nominal burn shutdown

Radiometric?  Didn't we used to call this telemetry?

Wouldn't 'radiometric' refer to readings of solar radiation?

radiometer (rā'dē-ŏm'ĭ-tər) A device used to detect or measure radiation.

28 posted on 03/18/2011 7:32:40 AM PDT by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: NormsRevenge

When will it circle Uranus?


29 posted on 03/18/2011 7:33:22 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Jack Hammer

A Washington DC cab driver was at the controls


30 posted on 03/18/2011 7:38:42 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. D.E. +12 ....( History is a process, not an event ))
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To: bert

A buck eighty-five from Africa to here???? That’s an outrage...


31 posted on 03/18/2011 7:53:15 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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