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Neal Bachtell of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., attaches the middle section of the ceramic-fabric sunshade to the Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft. At approximately 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide, the shade, made from the same materials that protect sections of the space shuttle and International Space Station, will keep MESSENGER's instruments at room temperature while the spacecraft orbits the planet closest to the sun.

Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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