There may indeed be pigs on the wing today, as the hometown boys made good yesterday in Dallas, where the New York Giants put on one hell of a show. Defying expectations, they somehow defeated the Dallas Cowboys, leaving T.O. in tears at the news conference after the game. My congratulations to the Giants and best wishes as they advance to play the Packers next Sunday evening for the NFC Championship.
But back to the pigs... if they can flap those wings fast enough to gain escape velocity, they just might catch up with the Messenger Spacecraft, which today will come within 124 miles of the planet Mercury. Just imagine that for a moment. The images we get back will provide the closest, most detailed picture of the hot little planet ever. Unfortunately we won't get the pictures back and ready for publication for a couple of weeks, but keep your eyes on the CNN Science section in late January for their release.
Messenger isn't stopping there quite yet, however. This pass is just part of their braking orbit to slow the craft down and it won't settle into a long term, stable orbit around Mercury for a couple of years yet. Don't look for any discoveries of new life forms there, though, as the tiny planet has an average temperature in the thousands of degrees and no atmosphere.