Friday, October 10, 2008

First day back home after the great opportunity

The drive back to NC yesterday was more colorful than on Sunday up to MD. It was overcast with gray clouds but no rain. The colors of fall were bolder with more reds, yellows, and deep purples just gorgeous. It's amazing how quickly the leaves change color. The traffic was pretty normal for the afternoon and thankfully no accidents. There was on delay with road work so we took a break at Dairy Queen for a blizzard, yummmm. I must say my husband, Tom was extremely glad to see us. When I received the invitation to attend the flyby 2 of MESSENGER to Mercury it said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It definitely was something I will never forget. The science team were wonderful to explain and share their knowledge with us. The mission was very successful and everyone was so excited. Harri Vanhala sent the follow update on the MESSENGER mission today.

By using solar sailing – rotating the spacecraft and tilting its solar panels to use the very small pressure from sunlight to alter the spacecraft’s trajectory – MESSENGER navigators have achieved a new record for the smallest miss distance between the intended and actual closest approach distance during a flyby of a planet other than Earth. On October 6, 2008, the probe flew 199.4 kilometers (123.9 miles) above the surface of the planet. “Our goal was to fly 200 kilometers from the planet’s surface, and we missed that target by only 0.6 kilometers,” explained MESSENGER Mission Design Lead Jim McAdams, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. That’s pretty remarkable targeting, given that MESSENGER has traveled 668 million kilometers since its last deep space maneuver in March, McAdams says. “It’s as if we shot an arrow from New York to a target in Los Angeles – nudged it three times mid-stream with a soft breath – and arrived within the width of the arrow’s shaft at the target.”

That is really awsome to think and know that scientist can control space maneuvers that far away.Check our my newly created wiki at
it's not finished yet, still under construction but maybe you will enjoy viewing it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Early Monday Morning

Early! OH so early! The 5 MESSENGER fellows met at 2:30AM to travel to Johns Hopkins University Missions Operation Center. We were all so excited and chattering about what were going to see. The scientist were so helpful and kind to answer all the questions we had about the second flyby.

The Drive to Maryland

While driving to Laurel Maryland for the MESSENGER flyby2 of Mercury I was thinking of all the beauty we have here on Earth. The Autumn season has arrived and the farther north I drove it was more apparent. The vibrant yellow hues and the burnt oranges were sparkling on the sunny cloudless day. Those along with the Virginia Creeper's crimson red that peeked out from the many trees along the way definitely said fall is here. Poor little Mercury with no vibrant colors just mostly gray tones and such a barren surface.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Arrival at Johns Hopkins University, Laurel MD.

It's 3:00AM and 5 MESSENGER Fellows eagerly await the flyby2 of MESSENGER to Mercury. This is so exciting being here with the scientists and others who are so interested and knowledgeable about space science.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This is the official press release for the second flyby of the Mercury probe MESSENGER. I will be attending Johns Hopkins University observing first hand the infromation that MESSENGER will be sending back to Earth. I am so excited to have this opportunity!

On Monday, October 6, 2008, NASA\'s MESSENGER mission to Mercury will
complete an important milestone, as the spacecraft makes its second flyby of
its target planet. During the flyby, MESSENGER will swoop just 200 km (125
miles) above the cratered surface of Mercury, snapping hundreds of pictures
and collecting a variety of other data from the planet as it gains a
critical gravity assist that keeps the probe on track to become the first
spacecraft ever to orbit the innermost planet in the Solar System in 2011.

Six MESSENGER Educator Fellows, master science educators talented at
speaking to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, will observe the flyby
activities at the Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory and report on their experiences in real time
using social networking sites on the Internet. Through the Fellows\' eyes,
teachers, students, and the general public around the world will be able to
share the engineers¹ excitement as the spacecraft performs a maneuver
crucial to the success of the mission, and experience the scientists\'
exhilaration as new science data never before seen by any human being
arrives during the days following the flyby.

Join the MESSENGER Educator Fellows as they report on MESSENGER\'s second
flyby of Mercury by navigating to the Fellows at the Flyby page at:
Follow the links therein to the individual Fellows\' Facebook, Twitter, Wiki
and blog pages.

MESSENGER to Mercury mission is supported by the NASA Discovery Program
under contract to the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Johns
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. For more information on the
MESSENGER mission, visit

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hey Everybody!
Get ready for the MESSENGER Fly-By October 5th!