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The exploration of Mercury by spacecraft

Sean C. Solomon and Paul K. Byrne
The exploration of Mercury by spacecraft
Elements (February 2019) 15 (1): 15-20


The planet Mercury is sufficiently close to the Sun to pose a major challenge to spacecraft exploration. The Mariner 10 spacecraft flew by Mercury three times in 1974-1975 but viewed less than half of the surface. With the three flybys of Mercury by the MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008-2009 and the insertion of that probe into orbit about Mercury in 2011, our understanding of the innermost planet substantially improved. In its four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER revealed a world more geologically complex and compositionally distinctive, with a more dynamic magnetosphere and more diverse exosphere-surface interactions, than expected. With the launch of the BepiColombo dual-orbiter mission, the scientific understanding of the innermost planet has moved another major step forward.

ISSN: 1811-5209
Serial Title: Elements
Serial Volume: 15
Serial Issue: 1
Title: The exploration of Mercury by spacecraft
Affiliation: Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
Pages: 15-20
Published: 201902
Text Language: English
Publisher: Mineralogical Society of America and Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and Mineralogical Association of Canada and Geochemical Society and Clay Minerals Society, International
References: 29
Accession Number: 2019-026967
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
Secondary Affiliation: North Carolina State University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: International
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, Mineralogical Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 2019
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