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Mercury Flyby 3
Greg Hullender
post Jul 3 2009, 09:27 PM
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We're now just one Mercury year (88 days) from flyby #3, which happens on September 29, 2009, so this seems like a good time to start a thread about it.

http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/index.php

For comparison purposes, it'd be nice if someone (probably someone on the Messenger team) put together a Mercury Map showing what areas will get better coverage from this flyby than from the previous ones. I realize it'll be very similar to flyby #1, but it won't be exactly the same.

After that, it's a long wait until MOI on March 18, 2011. Curiously, that's the same date the New Horizons crosses the orbit of Uranus.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/passingpla...ets_current.php


--Greg
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 3 2009, 10:09 PM
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From a global point of view I don't think there will be any significant extension of coverage this time. The important thing will be the chance to extend the area covered by the highest resolution images shortly before and after closest approach. Things happen so fast near closest approach that only a small area can be seen in the highest resolution images. This time it will be possible to image areas not covered at highest resolution before, or to plan images to give good stereo viewing when combined with the earlier images. So, lots of opportunity to do good things, but not really any chance of increasing coverage.

Phil


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Greg Hullender
post Jul 4 2009, 04:33 AM
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Yes, I understand that. I was hoping someone might make a map that indicated which areas would get improved coverage though. That is, if one were trying to make a Mercury map, which existing areas should one expect to upgrade as a result of this flyby.

Of course, that'll all be obsoleted when Messenger goes into orbit, but that's still a long time from now.

--Greg
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 4 2009, 11:04 AM
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There's no public information on coverage yet, but it will come.

Phil


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MarkG
post Jul 8 2009, 11:32 PM
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It will also be interesting if any stereo-pair frames are shceduled.


Any further word on the search for "Vulcanoids"?



--Mark G.
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Vultur
post Jul 9 2009, 02:49 PM
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Probably a dumb question, but what are Vulcanoids - Mercury-crossing asteroids?
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mps
post Jul 9 2009, 05:26 PM
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There is an article about vulcanoids in Wikipedia.
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MarkG
post Jul 12 2009, 04:21 PM
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QUOTE (Vultur @ Jul 9 2009, 06:49 AM) *
Probably a dumb question, but what are Vulcanoids - Mercury-crossing asteroids?

There is a Wikipedia, but the short answer is that Vulcanoids are a purported group of small bodies orbiting inside Mercury's orbit. Messenger can look for them when at perigee -- looking at an angle away from the sun, but still look at space inside Mercury's orbit.
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ugordan
post Jul 12 2009, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE (MarkG @ Jul 12 2009, 06:21 PM) *
Messenger can look for them when at perigee

I think you meant perihelion.


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MarkG
post Jul 12 2009, 08:46 PM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ Jul 12 2009, 08:27 AM) *
I think you meant perihelion.

Sorry to anthropomorphise...
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Paolo
post Jul 14 2009, 07:04 AM
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By the way, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Le Verrier's first study of the "intramercurial planet" and of Lescarbault's observed transit of Vulcan across the Sun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_(hypothetical_planet)


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Greg Hullender
post Aug 3 2009, 05:12 AM
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Just half an orbit away now. (Messenger's orbit is currently 116 days). Even if the coverage largely duplicates flyby #1, the phase angle might be different enough to be useful. Does anyone remember how close to the other flybys the Messenger team started posting information for the public?

--Greg
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dmuller
post Aug 3 2009, 06:31 AM
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QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Aug 3 2009, 03:12 PM) *
Does anyone remember how close to the other flybys the Messenger team started posting information for the public?

I dont recall for sure but if memory serves me right they published their flyby timeline very close to C/A, maybe 2 or 3 weeks in advance.

The press-kit seems to have been published on 13 Sep 08 for the 06 oct 08 flyby
QUOTE (peter59 @ Sep 13 2008, 06:56 AM) *


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stevesliva
post Aug 3 2009, 03:13 PM
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Just got an email with a 5-year milestone press release:
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=127

QUOTE
The probe has completed four major deep-space maneuvers (DSMs) and 12 trajectory-correction maneuvers, and mission controllers have been able to forgo six additional planned course corrections by using MESSENGER’s solar panels creatively, harnessing solar radiation pressure to adjust the spacecraft’s trajectory.

“Because of the implementation of solar sailing, the MESSENGER team has not used propellant to correct the cruise trajectory of the spacecraft since December 19, 2007, in advance of the first Mercury flyby,” says MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, of APL.


Neat!
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Greg Hullender
post Aug 3 2009, 06:52 PM
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That suggests they might be able to have quite the extended mission, when the time comes. I wonder if this counts as the first successful solar sail application? :-)

--Greg
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