Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which has orbited and studied the planet Mercury since 2011, will end its extended mission as it runs out of fuel and crashes into the planet on April 30, 2015. Join Slooh for a live show as we cover this extraordinary event and discuss the achievements of the MESSENGER Mercury mission.The live broadcast will begin at 12:00 PM PDT / 3:00 PM EDT / 19:00 UTC on April 30th - International Times: goo.gl/1oQhng.
Join Slooh Host Eric Edelman and Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman as they speak with mission experts, including MESSENGER MASCS Instrument Scientist Dr. Noam Izenberg, while gazing at live views of Mercury. Viewers can chime in with their own questions to be discussed live via the hashtag #SloohMESSENGER
The impact itself will not be visible from Earth, but, says Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman, "Simply watching Mercury is always special and exciting, since it's so close to the sun. Even the great Copernicus said he'd never seen it. But watching it close-up while the MESSENGER spacecraft meets its doom will be a poignant experience that I'm glad we're sharing with the public.”
MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) began its mission when it launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta II rocket on August 3, 2004. During its more than 4,000 orbits of Mercury over the past four years, the spacecraft mapped and imaged the inner planet, probed its magnetic field and gravity, and discovered a surprising amount of water in Mercury’s exosphere. It also found evidence for past volcanic activity and the possibility that Mercury has a liquid-iron core. Late in 2014, scientists also suggested MESSENGER discovered signs of an annual meteor shower on Mercury.
As the last bits of its pressurized helium run out, the half-ton spacecraft will finally impact the planet at 8,720 mph on April 30. NASA engineers expect MESSENGER will impact Mercury near 19:30 UT, although it may complete one more 8-hour orbit of Mercury before impact.
Adds Bob Berman, “Quite an end to a mission that began with its launch 11 years ago and needed a six-year circuitous route until it started orbiting that densest world in 2011. It will be fun to talk about its many discoveries -- especially its confirmation of water ice in all the dark craters at the poles. This is possible only because Mercury is the only planet with no axial tilt, so it permits permanently cold shaded areas in all depressions at its "top" and "bottom."
MESSENGER Broadcast Details:
Start time: Thursday, April 30th, 12:00 PM PDT / 3:00 PM EDT / 19:00 UTC
Link - www.slooh.com
Hashtag - #SloohMESSENGER
Embed - please link back to Slooh.com:
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Slooh makes astronomy incredibly easy, engaging and affordable for anyone with a desire to see outer space for themselves. Since 2003 Slooh has connected telescopes to the Internet for access by the broader public. Slooh’s automated observatories develop celestial images in real-time for broadcast to the Internet. Slooh’s technology is protected by Patent No.: US 7,194,146 B2 which was awarded in 2006. Slooh members have taken over 2.5m photos/140,000 FITS of over 40,000 celestial objects, participated in numerous discoveries with leading astronomical institutions and made over 2,000 submissions to the Minor Planet Center. Slooh’s flagship observatories are situated on Mt. Teide, in partnership with the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), and in Chile, in partnership with the Catholic University. Slooh has also broadcast live celestial events from partner observatories in Arizona, Japan, Hawaii, Cypress, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Norway. Slooh’s free live broadcasts of potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), comets, transits, eclipses, solar activity etc. feature narration by astronomy experts Bob Berman and Paul Cox and are syndicated to media outlets worldwide. Slooh signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in March 2014 to "Bring the Universe to Everyone and Help Protect Earth, Too."
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