Friday, March 18, 2011

Pesawat NASA Kelilingi Utarid/Mercury


NASA's Messenger became the first satellite to orbit Mercury Thursday night.

After a journey of more than six years and 96 million miles, Messenger successfully fired its thrusters at 7:55 p.m. CDT to insert itself into orbit around the closest planet to the Sun.

Applause and handshakes broke out in the control room at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory near Laurel, Md., at 8:10 CDT when data from the satellite convinced scientists Messenger was in orbit.

If Messenger hadn't made it, it could have skipped past the planet on a path that wouldn't allow a new try for another six years.

Messenger is carrying six experiments designed to learn more about the surface of the planet. Most tantalizing is the chance of learning if ice is hidden in the shadows of craters at Mercury's poles.

Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville manages the Messenger program. The Applied Physics Laboratory near Laurel, Md., controls the satellite, and the Carnegie Institute in Washington is controlling the experiments.

It took more than six years for Messenger to get in position, because NASA sent it flying by Mercury three times to use the planet's gravity as a partial brake before orbit insertion.

It takes between six and 12 minutes to beam a command to the satellite or data back, and it will take six months for the serious science to begin streaming back. However, new images of Mercury will be available daily beginning April 4.

After the year is passed, Messenger's orbit will decay until it eventually crashes into the planet.

Dalam Bahasa Malaysia

Untuk pertama kali, Bumi mempunyai "mata di langit" yang mengorbit dan memantau Utarid, planet paling kecil dan luar biasa dalam sistem suria.

Pesawat angkasa NASA yang dikenali sebagai Messenger itu berjaya memasuki orbit khusus selepas perjalanan selama enam setengah tahun dan 4.9 bilion batu dan mengelak tarikan graviti matahari.

Ia adalah planet kelima dalam sistem suria yang diorbit NASA.
Mercury bukan mudah untuk dikunjungi dan ia juga planet paling ekstrem.

Ketika suhu boleh mencapai 425 Celsius di bahagian paling hampir dengan matahari, kawasan bertentangan tersangat gelap dan sejuk dengan suhu sebilangan kawah tidak pernah naik melepasi 184 darjah Celcius di bawah paras beku.

Malah radar menunjukkan kemungkinan terdapat salji di dalam kawah berkenaan, iaitu sesuatu yang akan cuba disahkan Messenger.

Pada 1970-an, NASA menghantar pesawat angkasa Mariner melepasi Utarid tetapi hanya berjaya merakam sebahagian kecil planet kecil itu. - AP

Sumber:

http://www.bharian.com.my/bharian/articles/PesawatangkasaNASAkelilingiUtarid/Article
http://blog.al.com/space-news/2011/03/nasas_messenger_satellite_succ.html

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