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.

1 comment:

steph stockman (geosteph) said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!