Planet Mercury (Photo: Google images)
WASHINGTON - NASA's space shuttles, MESSENGER will enter Mercury's orbit for the first time next week.
If everything goes well, MESSENGER will reach tujuannnya on March 18, in which the aircraft will be within a radius of 200 kilometers of Mercury's surface. Similarly, as reported by FOX News Sunday (13/03/2011).
"We're all very excited to reach this achievement and we are so eager to learn the secrets that will eventually be shown Mercury to us," said Sean Solomon as a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC as well as leaders of this mission.
MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and ranging) is the second space shuttle to reach the nearest planet to the sun. The first plane was Mariner 10, which had passed the orbit of Mercury for three times in 1974 and 1975. At that time, Mariner 10 was only able to see 45 percent of Mercury's surface.
When it orbits later, MESSENGER will map Mercury's entire surface and recording the topography and composition of the planet on a small scale up to tens of meters.
In this one-year long mission, MESSENGER will also measure the difference in Mercury's tenuous atmosphere and consist of hydrogen, helium and metal ions. This information is expected to provide information about how thin the atmosphere that it could re-formed after the ions are released into the sky.