NASA satellite primed for first ever Mercury orbit
If all goes well NASA this week will send a spacecraft to a place it has never been, the planet Mercury's orbit. NASA's satellite MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) will become the first spacecraft to actually orbit Mercury, about 730 times, beaming back pictures and never before available pictures and information on the planet. On March 17 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft ever to enter Mercury's orbit. The probe will continue to orbit the planet once every 12 hours for the duration of its mission.