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The end of MESSENGER's mission, What happens after March 2013?
Seryddwr
post Apr 21 2012, 10:08 AM
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I know nothing about either the technological constraints or the funding possibilities, but I was wondering if anyone knew what might happen to the probe once the extended mission at Mercury comes to an end. Is it definitely going to be decommissioned? Or is there a chance of sending it somewhere else? Is there sufficient propellant to allow it to break orbit using the LVA, and (say) conduct a flyby of an Aten or Apollo asteroid? I do not know how much delta-v would be required to do this, or even if there are any targets in favourable positions, but it would (to my untrained eye) be an excellent reuse of what has proven itself to be a very capable spacecraft.
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stevesliva
post Apr 24 2012, 12:12 AM
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Any proposals they have for end of mission likely depended on remaining fuel and analysis of how well their solar-sailing techniques work. And because there are no planetary protection requirements at Mercury, no one has forced their hand yet.

That said, there seems to be little other mention out there other than what Paolo dug up.
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- Seryddwr   The end of MESSENGER's mission   Apr 21 2012, 10:08 AM
- - Paolo   with all the oxidizer used during the latest orbit...   Apr 21 2012, 10:57 AM
- - Paolo   I have checked the biography of spaceflight mechan...   Apr 21 2012, 11:07 AM
- - Phil Stooke   Impact on Mercury is the final act of Messenger...   Apr 21 2012, 12:28 PM
- - Seryddwr   Thanks both for your replies. It's sad in one...   Apr 21 2012, 12:50 PM
- - Bill Harris   I imagine that having perfected the Skeet Shooting...   Apr 21 2012, 09:19 PM
- - brellis   Just for curiosity's sake, how far away from t...   Apr 22 2012, 01:56 AM
- - Phil Stooke   Most likely it could do no more than limp into a s...   Apr 22 2012, 03:17 AM
- - Paolo   digging in my library I have found this, from Avia...   Apr 22 2012, 09:54 AM
- - stevesliva   Any proposals they have for end of mission likely ...   Apr 24 2012, 12:12 AM
- - jasedm   No chance of Messenger spiralling sunwards I suppo...   Apr 24 2012, 08:33 PM
|- - JRehling   Moving into a gravity well is just as hard as gett...   Apr 24 2012, 10:56 PM
||- - antoniseb   QUOTE (JRehling @ Apr 24 2012, 05:56 PM) ...   May 8 2012, 09:04 PM
|- - Eutectic   QUOTE (jasedm @ Apr 24 2012, 02:33 PM) No...   May 5 2012, 05:42 PM
- - djellison   Given that it took a very large MOI burn to get IN...   Apr 24 2012, 10:38 PM
- - Explorer1   I doubt the camera is even designed to image the s...   May 6 2012, 05:24 AM
|- - djellison   QUOTE (Explorer1 @ May 5 2012, 09:24 PM) ...   May 6 2012, 05:41 PM
- - nprev   A 15 nm orbit sounds fascinating, but I wonder if ...   May 6 2012, 05:26 PM
|- - ugordan   Keep in mind MESSENGER's orbital velocity is a...   May 6 2012, 05:30 PM
- - Stu   ...and if we could find a wardrobe big enough, it ...   May 8 2012, 09:35 PM
- - brellis   It's a bit disappointing to characterize the e...   May 9 2012, 01:19 AM
- - djellison   There's no soft way of doing it. Indeed, a mo...   May 9 2012, 01:29 AM
- - Phil Stooke   If you come in slower there should be more time to...   May 9 2012, 03:41 AM
|- - Gsnorgathon   Does anyone know if any provision is being made to...   May 10 2012, 12:49 AM
- - Phil Stooke   One point about this - there's no fuel left to...   May 10 2012, 01:58 AM
|- - TheAnt   QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ May 10 2012, 03:58 A...   Oct 11 2012, 05:15 PM
- - Paolo   I have received a copy of this paper http://www.ia...   Oct 11 2012, 07:23 AM
- - Paolo   by the time of impact, solar perturbations will ha...   Oct 11 2012, 05:48 PM


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