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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
MESSENGER will give us much better images of Mercury than this one!
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Courtesy of NASA

MESSENGER

The MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry Ranging mission (MESSENGER) was chosen as the next mission to Mercury. The Mariner 10 spacecraft last visited Mercury in 1975. Since then, scientists have been interested in Mercury's atmosphere, surface and core. The MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2004 and will begin its orbit around the tiny planet in 2009.

MESSENGER will study a number of things during its journey. Scientists are hoping to learn more about the planet's thin atmosphere, the origin of its high density, the composition and structure of its crust and the mystery behind the polar caps.

MESSENGER is part of the Discovery Program, an alternative to the high cost missions once used by NASA. The mission is estimated to cost $286 million and is led by John Hopkins University.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Atmosphere of Mercury

Mercury has almost no atmosphere. The planet's small size means that its gravity is too weak to hold down a normal atmosphere. There is a very thin atmosphere around the planet. Mercury's thin atmosphere...more

Cassini

A spacecraft named Cassini will study the planet Saturn for several years. Cassini blasted off from Earth in October 1997. After flying past Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, Cassini finally arrived at Saturn...more

MESSENGER

The MErcury Surface Space ENvironment, GEochemistry Ranging mission (MESSENGER) was chosen as the next mission to Mercury. The Mariner 10 spacecraft last visited Mercury in 1975. Since then, scientists...more

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