Read more:

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Messenger Spacecraft around Mercury
    MESSENGER - Mercury Surface Space Environment was an Robotic spacecraft of NASA which orbited Mercury between 2011 and 2015 to study Mercury Chemical Composition, geology and magnetic field.It became second spacecraft to orbit around Mercury after Mariner-10 in 1975. It performed its first flyby in January 2008 and entered its orbit around 18 March 2011. It final mission ends in 30 April 2015 by impacting into Mercury's surface.


MESSENGER was carried by Delta-II 7925H Rocket on 3 August 2004 at 06:15:56 UTC from Cape Canaveral. It was aimed to perform multiple flyby around Venus and Mercury. 

Some of the objectives of Messenger mission was
  1. To characterize the chemical composition of the surface of Mercury
  2. To study detailed about Mercury's geologic history
  3. To study the planet Magnetic field and its Magnetosphere
  4. To identify the size and core state of the planet
  5. To study its volatile poles and exosphere of Mercury
  • MDIS   - Mercury Dual Imaging System
  • GRS     - Gamma-Ray Spectrometer
  • NS        - Neutron Spectrometer
  • XRS      - X-Ray Spectrometer
  • MAG     - Magnetometer
  • MLA      - Mercury Laser Altimeter
  • MASCS - Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer
  • EPPS     - Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer
  • RS          - Radio Science

MESSENGER performed first Earth flyby one year after launch on 2 August 2005. During its flyby it took photograph of Earth to test its working of the instruments properly. All the onboard instruments worked properly.

(Image: Earth Image taken by Messenger during its flyby around Earth)


MESSENGER encountered Venus on 24 October 2006 at 08:34 UTC. During this encounter Messenger entered super conjuction where Earth was on exact opposite side of the Solar system. During this interval no radio communication and observation were made

It encountered Venus again on 5 June 2007, at this time Messenger studies upper atmosphere of Venus using Infrared Imaging spectrometer, Ultra-violet spectrometer and X-Ray Spectrometer. 

(Image : Photo of Venus taken by Messenger Spacecraft


  MESSENGER made its first flyby of Mercury on 14 january 2008 and its second flyby on 6 October 2008. It entered safe mode sometime and was recovered seven hours later on 24 November 2009 at 22:45 UTC.

Image: First image of Mercury by Messenger on its first flyby 


Messenger found large amount of water present in Mercury's exosphere.In later years it found volcanic activity on the surface of Mercury and liquid planetary iron core. It also detected Organic compounds and water ice inside craters near the north pole.


The Messenger mission was ended on 30 April 2015 at 3:40 UTC. It impacted and crashed on the surface. Lost of spacecraft is due to the insufficient supply of helium gas to pressurize the propellant tanks. There were no images taken to map the area of impact site. 

Last Image of Messenger Spacecraft before Impact


Post a Comment