NASA Preview of Mercury Mission's Flight Past Venus


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WASHINGTON - NASA will host a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 4, to preview the June 5 flyby of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft through the Venus system. The probe, the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun, will use Venus's gravity once again to guide it closer to Mercury's orbit.

During the flyby, the full suite of the spacecraft's instruments will be directed at Venus, providing several unique science opportunities that may offer insight never before revealed about the cloud-shrouded planet. The encounter also presents the opportunity to conduct collaborative and complimentary observations with the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission.

Briefing participants are:

-- Marilyn Lindstrom, MESSENGER program scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington

-- Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator, Carnegie Institution of Washington

-- Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

-- Hakan Svedhem, Venus Express project scientist, European Space Agency, Paris

To participate in the teleconference, reporters in the United States should call 1-888-324-6998 and use the pass code "Venus." International reporters should call 1-210-234-0009.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

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

http://www.nasa.gov/messenger

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