Messenger: Planet Earth Messenger
Interplanetary Probe Messenger was launched in early August 2004 from Cape Canaveral by American specialists. The name of the apparatus from English translates to “messenger”. This name reflects as best as possible the mission of the probe, which was to reach the planet Mercury distant from Earth and collect data of interest to scientists. The unique flight of the spacecraft has attracted the attention of many researchers, with the strain of waiting for the first results from Mercury.
The journey of the Earth’s messenger lasted no small seven years. During this time the apparatus flew more than 7bn kilometres as it had to perform a range of gravitational maneuvers, slipping between the fields of Earth, Venus and Mercury itself. The voyage of the artificial apparatus proved to be one of the most difficult missions in the history of space exploration.
In March 2011, several calculated convergences of the probe with Mercury took place, during which Messenger adjusted its orbit and included a fuel economy program. When the maneuvers were completed, the probe actually turned out to be Mercury’s artificial satellite, orbiting the planet in optimal orbit. The Messenger from Earth embarked on the main part of his mission.
Mercury’s artificial satellite on space watch As an
artificial Mercury satellite, the Messenger probe worked until mid-March 2013, circling the surface at an altitude of approximately 200 km. During its stay near the planet, the probe collected and transmitted to Earth a lot of useful information. A lot of the data was so unusual that it changed scientists’ usual perceptions of Mercury’s features.
Today it became known that in ancient times there were volcanoes on Mercury, and the geological composition of the planet differs in complexity and diversity. Mercury’s core consists of molten metal. There is also a magnetic field, which, however, behaves strangely enough. It is still difficult for experts to draw precise conclusions about the presence of the atmosphere on the planet and its possible composition. More research will be needed to do that.
An additional bonus in the piggy bank of scientists was a unique “photo portrait” of the solar system, which managed to make the first artificial satellite of Mercury. Pictured are almost all the planets entering the solar system, except Uranus and Neptune. After completing its science mission in 2013, NASA’s probe has made an invaluable contribution to developing perceptions of space objects closest to Earth.