Monday, January 21, 2008

The speediest planet

The NASA Messenger spacecraft just executed its first flyby of Mercury, the first spacecraft to visit in over three decades. After ricocheting around the inner solar system a few more times, it will brake enough to execute a short rocket burn and slip into orbit around the solar system's innermost and fastest-moving planet. Messenger will be the first spacecraft to study Mercury long-term from orbit. It's already returned some very nice pics.

A lot will be learned about the formation of the solar system's inner, rocky planets. Of course, Mercury doesn't look all that different from the last visit in the 1970s. But those of us who can remember the 70s, do look different - for example, I've lost my 'fro D:-)

POSTSCRIPT: And, in this season of Hillary poking around in the racial underside of American politics and Barack trying hard to be black, let's remember Dr. King and his vision.

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