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Uploaded on Feb 24, 2012
Explore the story of MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging), the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, from mission design to current science discoveries. MESSENGER is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong study of its target planet. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.