Friday, November 18, 2011
MESSENGER at Mercury

The Innermost Planet Reveals Its Secrets

Sean C. Solomon
Director, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington

After three flybys of Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft is now orbiting the innermost planet and collecting daily observations with its seven scientific instruments. This information is giving us the first global view of Mercury's interior, surface, and environment and the first continuing observations of the planet's extremely dynamic interaction with the Sun and the interplanetary medium. The lecture will summarize the MESSENGER mission, the observations returned so far, and our resulting new understanding of Mercury, the solar system's family of inner planets, and rocky planets in other planetary systems.

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