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Missions to Mercury
Mercury Moons
Mercury Sign/Name
Mercury Short Facts
Mercury Pictures
Mercury Summary


Missions to Mercury


Mariner 10 had three flybys in 1974-1975. Under half of Mercury's surface was mapped by Mariner 10.

Mariner 10 passed Venus on February 5, 1974, at a distance of 4200 km. It crossed the orbit of Mercury on March 29, 1974, at 2046 UT, at a distance of about 704 km from the surface. The TV and UV experiments were turned on the comet Kohoutek while the spacecraft was on the way to Venus. A second encounter with Mercury, when more photographs were taken, occurred on September 21, 1974, at an altitude of about 47,000 km.

A third and last Mercury encounter at an altitude of 327 km, with additional photography of about 300 photographs and magnetic field measurements occurred on March 16, 1975. Engineering tests were continued until March 24, 1975, when the supply of attitude-control gas was depleted and the mission was terminated.

The total cost of the Mariner 10 mission was approximately $554 million. Above is an artist's drawing of the Mariner 10 spacecraft. Below to the left the liftoff is pictured and to the right the assembly is shown.


MESSENGER was a NASA robotic spacecraft that orbited Mercury between 2011 and 2015. The spacecraft was launched aboard a Delta II rocket in August 2004 to study Mercury's chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field.

MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, and is a reference to the Roman mythological messenger, Mercury.

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