Mercury is making news this week, as NASA’s Messenger spacecraft probe prepares to enter the messenger planet’s orbit for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day.
We’ve also got an even better chance of catching a glimpse of Mercury than we do of seeing a leprechaun Thursday, as the tiny planet is visible to the naked eye much of the week. (We can’t say the same for leprechauns.)
NASA’s Messenger spacecraft has been heading toward Mercury for six years now, finally arriving on Thursday to begin exploring the least explored planet. The probe will spend a year in Mercury’s orbit, at times getting as close as 125 miles from its rocky surface. NASA’s mission is to map Mercury and investigate its composition to help gain a better understanding of how the planets in our solar system formed and evolved.
Of course, those of us in Astrology circles have been exploring Mercury for a lot longer than that, and we know this tiny planet has a huge impact when it comes to how we think, communicate and express ourselves. For that reason, we can’t help but think about Mercury’s current transit and how it might affect the Messenger spacecraft mission.
As the craft grows near, Mercury remains in the action-oriented sign of Aries, one of the most pioneering signs of the zodiac, which is perfectly suited to this new phase of exploration.
But NASA might want to take some extra precautions, because on the day Messenger enters Mercury’s orbit, Mercury makes a semi-square to Neptune, the planet of illusions, which could put a damper on the day’s communications. It’s possible NASA could misinterpret information gathered about Mercury on its first day of probing, or perhaps they may find something they won’t immediately reveal to the public.
Also of note, Mercury will go retrograde on March 30, just two weeks after the Messenger spacecraft probe enters its orbit. Mercury Retrograde is a three-week period associated with miscommunication, delays and technological breakdowns, so we wonder how Mercury’s mischief during this time will affect the craft as it orbits so closely.
Will the Messenger probe break down? Will its progress be delayed somehow? Or will its communication feeds to Earth be disrupted?
We’ve got our eyes to the skies to keep watch on both the Messenger mission and the messenger planet, and to catch a glimpse of Mercury with our own naked eyes this week.
Tell us, have you been able to see Mercury without a telescope this week?