Thursday, March 17, 2011

NASA spacecraft headed to Mercury orbit

After a journey of more than six years, NASA's Messenger spacecraft is on target to fall into orbit around Mercury tonight.

The mission's goal: learn more about the planet closest to the sun.

Messenger launched from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 3, 2004, and has looped a dozen times around the inner solar system. If all goes as planned, its orbit around Mercury will last a year and allow the craft to do everything from studying the planet's magnetic field to examining its geological history.

The controlled burn is currently underway, with Messenger expected to enter orbit around 9 p.m.

A Webcast is underway. Confirmation that the spacecraft entered orbit, but without much detail about that orbit, is expected by 10 p.m.

You also should be able to watch the Webcast by clicking on the NASA TV image on the right side of this page.

Read about the mission.

No comments: