Revisiting Mercury, new sights abound

-A A +A
By Roger Snodgrass

The first fly-by of Mercury has thrilled the international team of space scientists who have waited 30 years for their virtual return to the smallest and nearest planet to the sun.Completing the first leg of a 2 billion-mile trip, featuring a gravity boost from Venus, the MESSENGER spacecraft zipped past its destination this month, snapping pictures and grabbing data.It was the first of three fly-bys for NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging  (MESSENGER) spacecraft that will slow the trajectory down and drop it into a long-term orbit two years from now.“This fly-by allowed us to see a part of the planet never before viewed by spacecraft, and our little craft has returned a gold mine of exciting data,” said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER’s principal investigator of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. In an announcement, he said, “From the perspectives of spacecraft performance and maneuver accuracy, this encounter was near-perfect, and we are delighted that all of the science data are now on the ground.”Much of the excitement had to do with new geological information and the discovery that the planet’s magnetic field had changed since it was last measured.Instrument scientist David Lawrence, now retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, will continue to work on the project with the Applied

If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Renew Current or Past Subscription / Register for Online Subscription

If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.

Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.

Newspaper Acct. ID:
Street Address:
(exactly as it appears on the label)

If you are a subscriber and you do not know your account ID or don't have a copy of your newspaper available that shows the information on the address label you can click continue below to search for your account.

New Subscription/30 Day Free Trial Account

If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.

ZIP Code:

Create a limited access account.
Register to participate in community forums, post on the community calendar, blog etc. This registration does not give you full access to read our award winning content, etc.

The Los Alamos Monitor | lacirculation@lamonitor.com | 505-662-4185
256 DP Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday