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Mercury is the mythological messenger of the gods, and MESSENGER is a scientific exploration project organized and executed by NASA dedicated to the planet Mercury. MESSENGER stands for "MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging" and it appropriately represents the project's wide range of scientific goals. Visitors interested in learning about the spacecraft that the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory designed and built to be the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, should click on the "Mission" link on the left side menu, then click on "Spacecraft". The thermal design, weight and cost requirements of such a craft are given, along with some photos. The "Gallery" link is a multimedia smorgasbord of material about the mission, including "maps", "images", "movies", "animations", "artists' impressions", "flyby visualization tools", and "photos". Visitors will find the short movie, "Earth Departure", which is a sequence of photos taken from the MESSENGER as it flew by earth, to be an emotional experience.
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