And now, the play-by-play.
|Score||Launch Date/Time (UTC)||Name||Player||Details|
|0:1||1973 Nov 3 03:45:00||Mariner 10||USA||
The first (and, so far, only) play of the game and it performed a
number of firsts for team Earth: It was the first spacecraft to
photograph the Earth from beyond the Moon's orbit. It was the first
spacecraft to use gravity assist
(Venus) in reaching its desitination.
It attained closest approach to Venus on 1974 Feb 5 18:01.
First approach to Mercury was 1974 March 29 09:47. Its second and
third encounters were 1974 Sep 21 and 1975 Mar 16.
The spacecraft was turned off on 1975 Mar 24 13:00 and still resides in a heliocentric orbit.
|0:2||2004 Aug 03 06:15:56||
The second mission to Mercury in 31 years was successfully launched and
inserted into solar orbit 57 minutes later. Earth flyby occurred on
2005 August 2 at 20:13 at a closest approach of 2347 km.
Two Venus flybys will occur on 2006 October 24 and 2007 June 6. The first Mercury flyby will occur on 2008 January 15 followed by two more on 2008 October 6 and 2009 September 30. Mercury orbit insertion is scheduled for 2011 March 18. End of primary data collection (i.e. main funding) occurs in 2012 March.
Indeed, as planned, on 2008 Jan 14, "MESSENGER passed 200 kilometers above Mercury's surface. Extensive scientific observations were executed during this flyby encounter, including imaging a large portion of Mercury's surface that has never before been seen by a spacecraft." Read more and see the data on the MESSENGER Website.