NASA's MESSENGER made its closest approach to Venus today, coming within 2,990 kilometers (1,860 miles) of its surface. The spacecraft used this close encounter with Venus' gravity well to alter its trajectory as it travels towards its final destination: Mercury. This won't be its final encounter with our twin planet, though. MESSENGER will meet up with Venus again in June 2007. It'll finally make its first encounter with Mercury in January 2008, but won't be in a final orbit until 2011.
Read the full blog entry