National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
NASA Selects 23 Participating Scientists for MESSENGER Mission to Mercury
NASA Selects 23 Participating Scientists for MESSENGER Mission to Mercury
16 Nov 2007
(Source: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)

NASA has selected 23 scientists for participation in the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) Mission. MESSENGER is on course to fly within 200 kilometers of Mercury on January 14, 2008 -- the first probe to pass by the planet in nearly 33 years -- and these Participating Scientists, along with the mission's existing team of engineers and scientists, will play critical roles in examining the images and data gathered during before, during, and immediately following that flyby.

"The breadth, scope, and creativity of the scientists selected is very encouraging," said Marilyn Lindstrom, NASA Program Scientist for the MESSENGER mission. "By directly participating in NASA's next mission to Mercury, these scientists will help bring us closer to the long-term objective of better understanding the innermost planet."

MESSENGER is the seventh mission in NASA's Discovery Program. The MESSENGER mission, spacecraft, and science instruments are focused on answering six key questions that will allow us to understand Mercury as a planet: Why is Mercury so dense? What is the geologic history of Mercury? What is the structure of Mercury's core? What is the nature of Mercury's magnetic field? What are the unusual materials at Mercury's poles? What volatiles are important at Mercury?

Each selected scientist will conduct science investigations addressing the broad science goals of the mission that can be addressed with the MESSENGER science payload. They will also join one or more of the MESSENGER discipline groups as new MESSENGER Science Team members.

The existing 23-member MESSENGER Science Team is divided into four Discipline Groups -- Geochemistry, Geology, Geophysics, and Atmosphere and Magnetosphere -- with each Co-Investigator responsible for implementation of a particular part of the mission's science plan. The newly selected Participating Scientists are:



Title of Investigation

Mehdi Benna Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Md.

Advanced MHD modeling of the magnetosphere of Mercury to support the MESSENGER mission
David Blewett Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Laurel, Md.

Spectral and geologic studies of the mercurian surface
Larry Evans Computer Sciences Corporation Lanham-Seabrook, Md., and
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

Elemental composition of Mercury from the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer measurements
Robert Gaskell Planetary Science Institute Altadena, Calif.

Shape, topography, and internal structure of Mercury from MDIS data
Jeffrey Gillis-Davis University of Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii

Integrating MESSENGER data to investigate the origin of Mercury's intercrater and smooth plains deposits
Steven Hauck Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio

Contributions to MESSENGER and the geophysical structure and evolution of Mercury
Jörn Helbert German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany

Supporting the analysis of the Hermean surface composition by laboratory emissivity measurements and by developing cross calibration strategies with VIRTIS on Venus Express and MERTIS on BepiColombo
Kevin Hurley University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, Calif.

Integrating the MESSENGER GRNS experiment into the 3rd interplanetary network of cosmic gamma-ray burst detectors
Catherine Johnson University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada, and
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif.

Investigations of Mercury's internal magnetic field
Rosemary Killen University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Md. Mercury's exosphere: Composition, variability, and solar wind interaction
David Lawrence Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, N.M.

Investigating Mercury's composition and geology using orbital neutron spectroscopy
Jean-Luc Margot Cornell University Ithaca, N.Y.

Optimal characterization of the interior of Mercury by integrating existing and future spin state measurements
Timothy McCoy Smithsonian Institution Department of Mineral Sciences
Washington, D.C.

Mapping the mineralogy of Mercury
Larry Nittler Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C. MESSENGER investigations of the geochemistry of Mercury
Jürgen Oberst German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany

Technical support for stereo imaging and studies in geodesy and cartography
David Paige University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif. Mountains, shadows, and ice on Mercury
Michael Purucker Raytheon Technical Services Company and Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Enhancing magnetic field investigations with a comprehensive approach
David Schriver University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, Calif.

Understanding Mercury's magnetosphere using MESSENGER data and global kinetic simulations
Ann Sprague University of Arizona Tucson, Ariz.

Exospheric sources and surface chemistry to probe the formation and evolution of Mercury
Richard Starr Catholic University of America Washington, D.C., and
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

Surface elemental analysis of Mercury with the MESSENGER geochemistry instrument suite
Ronald J. Vervack, Jr. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Laurel, Md.

A comprehensive investigation of Mercury's exosphere
Faith Vilas MMT Observatory Tucson, Ariz.

Characterizing space weathering on Mercury's surface using MESSENGER experimental data
Thomas Watters Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Washington, D.C.

Global characterization and analysis of tectonism on Mercury
News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 16 Nov 2007