Sunday, 20 March 2011

MESSENGER now orbiting Mercury

I have 3 posts in draft form. Two of them are... upsetting, on a personal as well as ethical basis. So I need a dose of sanity and hope before tackling them. Some Good News, to combat the horror inflicted on some children by well-meaning but arrogant and clueless professionals.

From the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A NASA spacecraft began orbiting Mercury, becoming the first to fly around the solar system's innermost planet, the space agency said.

The craft, known as Messenger, began the orbit around 9:00 pm (US time) on a mission to circle the planet for one Earth year in an unprecedented study of the tiny, hot planet.

The spacecraft began its journey more than six years ago, travelling through the inner solar system and embarking on flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury.

NASA said that by achieving orbit, "this marks the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this engineering and scientific milestone at our solar system's innermost planet".
Actually, it's not "Messenger", it's MESSENGER. MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, but never mind. A nose by any other name would smell.

I played a very small part in this spacecraft's development. Just enough so that I was made a member of the mission team, in lieu of actual payment.

An "engineering and scientific milestone" in the annals of space exploration. And I helped make it happen, in a very small way, along with many others who did far more than I did. I just "knew where to hit the washing-machine", based on my experience with the FedSat satellite, where similar issues were encountered.

Now I must steel myself to write the next post, amalgamating two drafts. And try very, very hard to be charitable to those unspeakable ignoramae who commit atrocities because they mean well.

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