[FPSPACE] The Planet Mercury is getting attention on an international
Fri, 26 Jan 2001 09:56:46 -0500
Byline: Peter N. Spotts
Mercury, the Rodney Dangerfield of planets, is finally getting respect.
For some 25 years, the tiny planet could light a fire under only a
handful of solar-system scientists. After Mariner 10's three fly-bys in
the mid-1970s, many astronomers dismissed the planet as too boring -
too much like Earth's moon to be worth the price of an orbiter.
Now, however, Mercury's stock is rising. Last fall, the European Space
Agency approved an ambitious 2009 mission - a pair of orbiters and a
surface probe - to study the first rock from the sun. The United States
is building a Mercury orbiter for launch in 2004. And Japan hopes to
launch its own Mercury mission in 2005.
Click here to e-mail this story to a friend:
Click here to read this story online: