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Spacecraft to Begin Journey to Mercury

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psychopomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:10 PM
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Spacecraft to Begin Journey to Mercury
AP
Spacecraft to Begin Journey to Mercury

32 minutes ago


By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA (news - web sites) is about to embark on its hottest mission ever, to Mercury.



The Messenger spacecraft, to be launched next week, will be blasted by up to 700-degree heat as it orbits the tiny planet closest to the sun so close that it would be as though 11 suns were beating down on Earth.

Remarkably, the only thing between the probe's room-temperature science instruments and the blistering sun and pizza-oven heat will be a handmade ceramic-cloth quilt just one-quarter of an inch thick.

"If it doesn't stay toward the sun, it will fry everything," said Neal Bachtell, mechanical technician and master quilter.

Bachtell used X-Acto blades to cut the 3M Nextel fabric and then relying on sewing tips from his mother used an industrial sewing machine to stitch the off-white pieces together into an 8-by-9-foot quilt, using Teflon-coated fiberglass thread. It was a nasty job; the itchy, ceramic-fiber cloth sheds and is bad to inhale.

-more


< http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=624&nci... >

Here's to mom's the world over! :toast:
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leftyandproud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:20 PM
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1. nasa...state of the art technology...
perfected by Mom.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:09 PM
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2. This is a wonderful mission.
I wish the engineers and the human race all the luck in the world on it.

Such missions are rare bright spots on our nation's now blighted position in the world.
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