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[b]MESSENGER Flyby of Mercury[/b]
At a little after 4:40 a.m. EDT, MESSENGER skimmed 200 kilometers (124 miles) above the surface of Mercury in the second of three flybys of the planet. Initial indications from the radio signals indicate that the spacecraft continues to operate nominally. The spacecraft is now collecting images and other scientific measurements from the planet as it departs Mercury from the illuminated side, filling in the details of much of Mercury's surface not previously viewed by spacecraft.
Tomorrow at 1:14 a.m. EDT, the spacecraft will turn its high-gain antenna back toward Earth to start down-linking the data stored onboard. The first pictures from the flyby will be released around 10:00 a.m. on October 7, 2008. Additional information and features from this encounter will be [URL=http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_flyby2.html]available online[/URL].
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