The National Space Club will be awarding the 2009 Nelson P. Jackson Award to the “The MESSENGER spacecraft flybys.” Director of Terrestrial Magnetism and principal investigator of the mission Sean Solomon will attend  the annual Goddard Memorial Dinner on 17 April to receive the award with Peter Bedini, project manager with The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which manages the mission.

The award recognizes the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission spacecraft, which was launched in August 2004, and has flown by Mercury twice. It  will fly by a third time in September 2009, and then orbit Mercury in March 2011 for one year to gather information on the density, magnetic fields, geological makeup, volatile materials, and take other measurements to better understand the structure and history of this terrestrial planet.

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