NASA’s intrepid Mercury observer, the Messenger satellite, is about to become the first spacecraft ever to orbit the first planet. The probe, which has already flown past the planet three times, will fire its thrusters March 17 so it can enter orbit and embark on a year-long science mission. Scientists hope the probe will explain several mysteries of Mercury’s past.
When it enters orbit, Messenger will be 96.35 million miles from Earth, according to NASA.
Arctic climatologist Konrad Steffen has spent 18 consecutive springs on the Greenland ice cap, personally building and installing the weather stations that help the world's scientists understand what's happening up there. And what's happening may be much worse than anyone thought possible
By Tom ClynesPosted 07.03.2007 at 2:00 am 2 Comments
In 1990, when climatologist Konrad Steffen established Swiss Camp, one of the first automatic weather stations on Greenland's ice sheet, global warming wasn't high on his agenda. Steffen wanted to study the interaction of ice and atmosphere at the "equilibrium line," the altitude where summer melt and winter snowfall are historically in perfect balance. "We probably have more information on nearby planets than we do on Greenland," he says. "Parts of Greenland have never been measured, because few satellites can see that latitude, and those that can haven't been up long enough.