Lecturer: Brian J. Anderson (APL)
Date: 2007-09-27 10:00
Place: Aniara

The MESSENGER Mission to Mercury: Venus Flyby observations and Status

Brian J. Anderson
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA's Mercury Surface Space Environment Geology and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft just completed its third planetary gravity assist, the second and final maneuver at Venus, and is now on target for a gravity assist at Mercury on 14 January 2008. After two additional gravity assists at Mercury, the spacecraft is scheduled for orbit insertion at Mercury on 18 March 2011 when the one-year orbital phase of the mission starts. The mission status is described with particular emphasis on the payload activities conducted during the Venus encounter on 5 June 2007. All of MESSENGER's science payload elements operated during the encounter as a dress rehearsal for the first Mercury encounter. The event also afforded a unique opportunity to make two-point observations of the solar wind-Venus interaction because the ESA Venus Express conducted intensive observations in Venus orbit at the same time as the MESSENGER flyby. Emphasis is therefore placed on observations of the solar wind-Venus interaction. Highlights include a bow shock located rather further from the planet than expected and signatures of electromagnetic waves indicating both H+ and O+ upstream generated waves.

Created 2007-09-25 07:57:40 by Mats Holmström
Last changed 2007-09-25 08:06:42 by Mats Holmström