August 3, 2004 was launched interplanetary station "Messenger". Its aim was to study the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury. The unit flew to the hot planet 7 years, and only in 2011 it entered the orbit. For two years in orbit, he was able to do a lot of images of Mercury's surface, collected and handed over a huge amount of information on the Earth. Powerful Space probe "Messenger" is equipped with a dual-mode camera, spectrometers, four species, altimeter, and a magnetometer.
It was officially announced that his mission will last until March 17, 2012. But then, on the basis of his research, NASA extended the mission he had planned for a year. And after that time, NASA decided on the operation of the machine in normal mode until such time as not run out of fuel. As a result of its expanded mission, "Messenger" has managed to examine 100% of the surface of the planet. And another decision was made to extend the mission to orbit Mercury for one more year. Space probe will stay there until April 2014.
Today we offer review the most interesting research results, "Messenger".
On the hottest planet in the solar system has been found water, however, in the solid state. Ice is on the north pole of Mercury. The possibility of finding water on the planet expressed in the 70-ies according to the radio "Arecibo", and that interplanetary station "Messenger" is confirmed. Scientists have not yet figured out the nature of the appearance of ice on the surface of the planet. Nominate in two versions: it is in the area, which had no sunlight, and therefore preserved, and he was there with asteroids and comets. At the moment, the issue is being studied.
Photos of Mercury made by the machine, basically, show craters and other signs of violent tectonic activity on the planet. All craters on Mercury scientists call the names of prominent artists.
Sometimes scientists see in the pictures with the "Messenger" silhouettes and outlines of those famous characters. For example, in this picture there are three images of Mickey Mouse. It was also found images of smiling faces. By the way, smiley previously found on other planets, but this one - with Mercury.
Analysis of the magnetosphere of Mercury led to the conclusion of the direct relationship between magnetic fields and the solar wind (a stream of ionized particles flowing from the sun's corona).
The neural detector interplanetary probed has analyzed solar flares and concluded that the presence of high-energy neutrons. These neutrons cannot occur on the territory of the Earth because of the short duration of the life of our planet.
During their flight, "Messenger" was able to make a "family portrait" of the planets of the solar system, thus complementing already existing knowledge about their location.