EDITED: And that's a wrap!
We had a perfect flyby!
A really deserved success to such a great team.
Just a final adenda I wasn't able to post yesterday due to lost of access to blogger.
It's from Mark Perry:
"Rui,The radio-science aspect of the flyby went as planned. We were able to lock onto the spacecraft's signal and begin 2-way Doppler measurements in less then two minutes after MESSENGER came out from around the planet. So, we have Doppler data during closest approach. It will take at least a few weeks to analyze the data and extract the small signals that represent the non-uniformity in Mercury's gravity field.
Just as important, the radio signal showed that the spacecraft was still operating normally. There were no telemetry signals on the data, but the RF signal, itself, would have been different if the spacecraft had entered a safe mode.So far, so good!
Now, let me just thank the members of the MESSENGER team for their efforts to keep us informed and you all who participated with a great mood in this party.
May the data flow! :-)
MERCURY FLYBY1 PARTY POST
Closer and closer...Today is flyby day!
Edited: There's video from images acquired between January 9 and 13
The MESSENGER spacecraft is now making its approach to Mercury and it will give our best regards and the announcement to our return to the planet at a distance of just 200kms…
To celebrate the occasion, and counting with the good will of some of the mission’s instruments scientists I have created this special post where interaction is the intended to be the key word…
How to participate?
Do you have a question? That’s even better…
If you click in the comments link below this lines you will be able to read updated information and curiosities straight from the mission’s HQ posted by some members of the team making this possible and you have the possiblity of writing there your own comments and questions regarding the event.
Noam Izenberg and Mark Perry, MASCS and Radio Science instrument scientists, and, time permitting (but highly unlikely...), Ralph McNutt, MESSENGER's Project Scientist and Louise Prockter, MDIS instrument scientist, spacEurope’s guests will start their collaboration today, the flyby day, but they’ll be around on Tuesday and Wednesday, the days where data starts arriving Mother Earth and where, as Noam Izenberg puts it "The _real_ fun begins"...
Remember, interaction is the word!
Go MESSENGER Go!
In the meanwhile, and as a way of inspiring our spacebased souls, a true spacEurope's friend, Nicholas Previsich, always present with his suggestions and critics, just sent me his impressions on the return to Mercury, let's read:
"MESSENGER- Filling In The Gap
"Hello. My name's Nick, and I've been a life-long space enthusiast, one of those 40-somethings that used to sit in my pajamas & watch early-morning Gemini launches way back in the day. My deepest thanks to Rui for this chance to step on the soapbox, and also congratulations for spacEurope's first year (...)!
In my earliest childhood, I was extremely impatient to see new worlds. I was dying to see the canals of Mars, the swamps of Venus, and the molten tin lakes of Mercury...and, of course, when we did finally see these places through our marvelous robots, things were far different then we'd thought. I was never disappointed with this, except for the fact that my inner child thought I'd be going there myself in the "Jetsons" worldview of the future that so many of us late Baby-Boomers took to heart as an expectation. Only recently have I realized how lucky I am, how lucky we all are.
MESSENGER will complete the reconnaissance of the inner planets of the Solar System. Consider that statement a moment, if you will. Fifty years ago--just fifty years ago--we as a species made our first tentative step into space with the launch of Sputnik I, and in just a few more years we will have complete maps of not only the terrestrial planets but also the major moons of Jupiter and Saturn. In fact, it is probable that we will have currently operational missions to all the classical planets of the ancients, with Dawn enroute to Ceres and Vesta (worlds in their own right) and New Horizons speeding to Pluto to boot.
Ptolemy, Galileo, Cassini, Columbus, and more--all our forbearers who yearned to see the next horizon or wondered what those moving points of light in the sky might be like--all would envy us today, for we see not the New World but dozens of them for the first time in human history. We are the fortunate ones after hundreds of generations to truly see new lands--and all in an historical blink of an eye.
I don't need my hovercraft, I don't need my robot maid; I'm more than content to see all of Mercury's surface before I die, to watch Titan slowly reveal its secrets, to watch Mars unveiled as a place of diverse wonders before my eyes, merely to name a few. To paraphrase the spacEurope slogan, we are indeed exploring space and seeding evolution, which is the realization of an ancient dream. They'll never be a time quite like this again, and we are beyond lucky to be here now.
For more information regarding the flyby visit the mission's website.