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March 22, 2011

First spacecraft to orbit Mercury carries University of Michigan Device

Two very exciting things in this article:
1. MESSENGER, NASA's spacecraft to orbit Mercury, has finally reached its orbit. It is the first spacecraft to actually orbit Mercury, and with that, NASA hopes to get more information about the mysterious planet.
2. A new device, FIPS (Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer), was designed and built here at the University of Michigan. It is the first plasma instrument to discover the plasmas of Mercury.

This spacecraft and the new device will help scientists see things on Mercury never before seen. Both NASA and Michigan have made accomplished a big step in furthering the way we conduct research in space and furthering our understanding of our solar system.

The full article can be found at:

Posted by nelalam at March 22, 2011 08:31 PM


I think that it is very exciting that we now have a spacecraft orbiting Mercury because it will allow us to gain more information about what Mercury is like. For a long time we have not been able to observe Mercury because of its close proximity to the sun. I would agree that it is also very exciting that the University of Michigan has built an instrument that will help us to understand Mercury.

Posted by: rmousigi at March 23, 2011 08:41 PM

It is great that we finally will have a chance to learn more about Mercury and its position so close to the Sun. Also, it is great to learn that the University of Michigan is leading the way in research and technology relating to astronomy. I hope to learn many new facts about Mercury from this spacecraft mission.

Posted by: sekoch at March 24, 2011 03:37 PM

I am wondering who exactly from the University of Michigan helped design this new device, FIP. It would be very excited if the students here had some part in its creation. Mercury is such a mysterious planet, despite it's proximity to the Earth. What exactly was this new spacecraft searching for on Mercury? This seems like a very exciting mission.

Posted by: skritt at March 27, 2011 05:26 PM

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