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Monday, March 21, 2011

Singastro NEWS 4

Today's topic: Two new achievements at NASA

There were two achievements made by NASA in the month of March.
1: Messenger successfully orbited Mercury
On March 17, the Messenger spacecraft had finally orbited Mercury, the innermost and smallest planet in the solar system. Messenger had taken the long-cut to get to Mercury in order to conserve fuel. It was launched in 2004, and after 8 years of trespassing through the inner solar system, it relaxed and slow down at Mercury. Mercury was discovered to have ice at the dark side of it, and so Messenger was sent to explore more.


2: New Horzions reached the orbit of Uranus
On March 18, the New Horizons spacecraft which mission was to reach Pluto, had reached the orbit of Uranus, after 5 years since its launch. The spacecraft was the fastest ever sent by humans, about 10 to 20 times faster than a bullet! It was launch in 2006, it had its closest encounter with Jupiter in 2007 giving the spacecraft a greater thrust using the slingshot effect. In 2008, it had reached Saturn's orbit. In 2011, it had reached Uranus's orbit. In 2014, Neptune's orbit. Finally, when it reaches 2015 July, the New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto.
Link: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html