messenger


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messenger

1. a carrier of official dispatches; courier
2. Nautical
a. a light line used to haul in a heavy rope
b. an endless belt of chain, rope, or cable, used on a powered winch to take off power
3. Archaic a herald

MESSENGER

abbrev. for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging, a NASA mission to the planet Mercury, launched Aug. 3 2004 from Cape Canaveral by a Delta 2 Heavy rocket and forming part of the agency's Discovery Program. Although an acronym, the name recalls the planet's mythical association with Mercury the winged messenger of the gods. The MESSENGER spacecraft is NASA's first Mercury orbiter. Its chief goal is to investigate important scientific questions about Mercury's surface and interior composition and its environment. Among other things, the probe will seek to find out why Mercury's density is so high, what the composition and structure of its crust is, and whether there has been any volcanism. It will also look into the nature, dynamics and origin of Mercury's magnetic field (possibly driven by a liquid outer core) and its tenuous atmosphere. One focus of interest will be the mysterious polar deposits on Mercury, which some scientists believe could be water ice. The data for these questions will be gathered by an array of seven miniature instruments working in one of the most hostile environments in the Solar System, a mere 58 million km from the Sun.

To avoid overshooting its target and possibly falling into the Sun, the MESSENGER craft is following a 6½-year, 7.9-billion-km roundabout course to Mercury that should slow it down sufficiently to accomplish its task. The journey will involve 15 solar orbits, 6 trajectory-altering planetary flybys (including 1 of the Earth, 2 of Venus, and 3 of Mercury itself), and 6 crucial rocket firings. It will enter orbit around Mercury in March 2011 for a year of scientific data collection.

messenger

[′mes·ən·jər]
(engineering)
A small, cylindrical metal weight that is attached around an oceanographic wire and sent down to activate the tripping mechanism on various oceanographic devices.
(naval architecture)
A light line used to haul in a larger line or hawser.

Messenger

Aethalides
herald of the Argonauts. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 11]
Alden, John
(1599–1687) speaks to Priscilla Mullins for Miles Standish. [Am. Lit.: “The Courtship of Miles Standish” in Hart, 188–189]
caduceus
Mercury’s staff; symbol of messengers. [Rom. Myth.: Jobes, 266–267]
dove
sent by Noah to see if the waters were abated; returns with an olive leaf. [O.T.: Genesis 8:8–11]
eagle
symbolic carrier of God’s word to all. [Christian Symbol-ism: Appleton, 35]
Gabriel
announces births of Jesus and John the Baptist. [N.T.: Luke 1:19, 26]
Hermes
(Rom. Mercury) messenger of the gods. [Gk. Myth.: Wheeler Dictionary, 240]
Iris
messenger of the gods. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 130; Gk. Lit.: Iliad]
Irus
real name was Arnaeus; messenger of Penelope’s suitors. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
Munin and Hugin
Odin’s two ravens; brought him news from around world. [Norse Myth.: Leach, 761]
Nasby
nickname for U.S. postmasters. [Am. Usage: Brewer Dictionary, 745–746]
Pheidippides
ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to carry news of Greek defeat of Persians. [Gk. Legend: Zimmerman, 159]
Pony Express
speedy relay mail-carrying system of 1860s. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 276]
Reuters
news agency; established as telegraphic and pigeon post bureau (1851). [Br. Hist.: Benét, 852]
Revere, Paul
(1735–1818) warned colonials of British advance (1775). [Am. Hist.: 425–426]
staff
symbolic of a courier on a mission. [Christian Symbolism: Appleton, 4]
Stickles, Jeremy
messenger for the king of England (1880s). [Br. Lit.: Lorna Doone, Magill I, 524–526]
Strogoff, Michael
courier of the czar. [Fr. Lit.: Michael Strogoff]
thorn
the messenger of Satan. [N.T.: II Corinthians 12:7]
Western Union
company founded in 1851; provides telegraphic service in U.S. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2958]
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