I’ve learned from the Bad Astronomy Blog that MESSENGER – NASA’s mission to Mercury – will make a flyby of the first planet from the sun today! This is cool. There seem to have been a lot of high profile space exploration to the outer planets, so it’s interesting to see them heading closer to the sun.
MESSENGER means MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, Geochemistry, and Ranging. The official MESSENGER website has all the details for the mission, including a countdown until the time for the closest approach of the flyby. There’s also a countdown for when MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury starting on March 18, 2011.