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MESSENGER Mission to Mercury - Windows to the Universe

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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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Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF