For some time during the last decades of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first, Mercury was often called “the forgotten planet”. With the main emphasis on Mars, and forays also to Jupiter and Saturn, Mercury was indeed neglected, no doubt because the chances of finding life there were effectively nil. Neither was Venus in the forefront of space planning; moreover funds for scientific research were being regularly cut. Yet eventually there was a slight change of heart, and both Venus and Mercury were again scheduled to be visited by space-craft.
KeywordsEuropean Space Agency Venus Express Mercury Laser Altimeter Mercury Planetary Orbiter Mercury Dual Image System
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