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NASA places sattelite in Mercury orbit

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NASA places sattelite in Mercury orbit

Postby Charles » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:44 am

For the first time in human history, there's a satellite orbiting the planet Mercury.

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MercurySattelite.jpg

NASA spacecraft now circling Mercury — a first

Messenger probe enters orbit more than six years after launch

A well-traveled NASA probe made history Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft ever to enter into orbit around Mercury.

By Mike Wall
Space.com
3/17/2011

NASA's Messenger spacecraft fired its main thruster in a 15-minute orbital insertion burn Thursday night to slow down by about 1,900 mph (3,058 kilometers), enough to enter Mercury's gravitational influence and settle into orbit around the planet.

About an hour after the 8:54 p.m. ET engine burn, it was official: Messenger was in a looping, 12-hour orbit around the solar system's innermost planet.

Mercury now has an artificial satellite, for the first time ever.

Read more here.
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