NASA to Hold Publice Meeting to Celebrate MESSENGER Mission Prior to Surface Impact of Mercury

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Artist concept of the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around planet Mercury. Image Credit: NASA


NASA will hold a media and public event at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 16, to share scientific findings and technical accomplishments of the agency’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft.

After more than 10 years in space, the highly successful mission will come to an end when it is expected to collide into Mercury at a speed of more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 km/sec) near the end of this month.

The event will take place in the NASA Headquarters’ James E. Webb Auditorium, 300 E Street, S.W., Washington, and will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER traveled 4.9 billion miles (7.9 billion kilometers) – a journey that included 15 trips around the sun and flybys of Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury three times – before it was inserted into orbit around its target planet in March 2011. The spacecraft’s cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments have collected unprecedented images and made other observations. Mission managers are preparing to impact Mercury’ surface in the next couple weeks.

Participants will include:

  • James Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator; director, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York
  • Helene Winters, MESSENGER project manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
  • Daniel O’Shaughnessy, MESSENGER systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

To participate by phone, reporters must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Thursday April 16. Media and the public also may ask questions during the event via Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:

For more information about the mission, visit:


Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Paulette Campbell
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.