Congratulations to the MESSENGER team for earning the 2012 Laurels for Team Achievement Award from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). AOSS and SPRL would especially like to congratulate Thomas Zurbuchen, Jim Slavin, Dan Gershman, Jason Gilbert, Jim Raines, Gina DiBraccio and everyone involved with building the Fast Imaging Plasma Analyzer (FIPS) instrument.
The citation for the award reads: “To the team of scientists and engineers whose creativity and expertise made possible the development and operation of the MESSENGER Mission, the first to orbit Mercury, as a breakthrough in scientific solar system exploration. During its unprecedented one-year primary mission, this robotic explorer has provided an extraordinary, comprehensive scientific overview of the planet, its makeup, its exosphere and its magnetosphere, providing the text for a new and overdue chapter of humankind's knowledge of the smallest of the terrestrial planets. This unique achievement of technology was conducted by the JHU APL and accomplished with the collaboration of NASA.”