Family portrait

Roamy here.  21 years ago, as Voyager 1 was leaving the solar system, it looked back and took a solar system family portrait.  Earth was just a small blue dot, only a few pixels.  Now the MESSENGER spacecraft, which has been studying Mercury since 2008, has done the same thing, but from the opposite angle.  (click to embiggen)


MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging and was launched in 2004.  It will enter orbit around Mercury March 18.  It has already discovered water in Mercury’s exosphere and evidence of volcanic activity on the surface.

I did some kind of testing for MESSENGER but can’t recall if it was the solar cells or optical property measurements.  I’ll update if I get a brain wave.

1 thought on “Family portrait”

  1. Well how about that? I worked on the EPPS/FIPS instrument. The FIPS subsystem.

    More than a little anxious to see it go into orbit.

    Would be fascinated to hear more about what kind of tests you were involved in. The environment there is pretty harsh – radiation and 10-11 times the amount of sunlight sure makes that shield the critical link! But all that is going to make the science doubly interesting.

    And when they crash it, I’ll be able to say something I designed and touched is on another planet.

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