NASA to Preview Mission's Third Flight Past Mercury

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WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on
Wednesday, Sept. 23, to preview the third and final flyby of Mercury
by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging
spacecraft known as MESSENGER.

On Sept. 29, the spacecraft will swing less than 142 miles above the
planet's rocky surface for a final gravity assist that will enable it
to enter orbit around Mercury in March 2011. With more than 90
percent of the planet's surface imaged after the spacecraft's second
flyby, the team will focus instruments on questions raised by the
earlier flybys to advance our understanding of the planet closest to
the sun.

The briefing participants are:
- Anthony Carro, MESSENGER program executive, NASA Headquarters in
- Eric J. Finnegan, mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
- Noam R. Izenberg, instrument scientist, Mercury Atmospheric and
Surface Composition Spectrometer, Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory
- Sean C. Solomon, principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of

To participate in the teleconference, reporters should e-mail Dwayne
Brown at dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov for dial-in and passcode

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:


At the beginning of the briefing, related images will be available at:


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