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Space photos of the day 09/10

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The tip of the Boeing Delta II rocket with its MESSENGER spacecraft on top breaks through the billows of smoke below as it lifts off on Aug. 3, 2004 from Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) is on a seven-year journey to the planet Mercury. The spacecraft will fly by Earth, Venus, and Mercury several times to burn off energy before making its final approach to the inner planet on March 18, 2011.


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