HomeNews & MediaPress ReleasesPress Release 


 

Artist's impression of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft in orbit at Mercury. MESSENGER is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in May 2004 and begin a yearlong orbital study of Mercury in July 2009. Though the sun is up to 11 times brighter at Mercury than we see on Earth and surface temperatures can reach 450 degrees Celsius (about 840 degrees Fahrenheit), MESSENGER's instruments will operate at room temperature behind its sunshade of heat-resistant ceramic fabric. The spacecraft will also pass only briefly over the hottest parts of the surface, limiting exposure to heat reradiated from the planet.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

To save photo:
PC: right click, choose "Save Image As..."
Mac: Control-click, choose "Download Image to Disk."

Return to MESSENGER Press Release