MESSENGER meets the messenger

Posted by BC on January 23rd, 2008

The horizon of the planet Mercury as seen from spaceOn January 14, 2008, MESSENGER from Earth met the messenger to the gods, Mercury. We have not seen new close up views of the tiny planet for over 30 years, and new images reveal vast amounts of information about the geology of the celestial neighbour. Not since the 70s, when Mariner 10 gave us a view of Mercury, have scientists been so excited about new discoveries of the tiny world.

Close approach was a mere 124 miles, which gave views of around six million square miles of surface that we had not seen before, as well as new views of areas previously seen. New images of Caloris Basin revealed more detail than was previously known. Caloris Basin might be the largest impact crater in the solar system, but other craters revealed by the fly-over are very interesting.

Two more flybys are scheduled in October, 2008 and September 2009 to photograph the remaining unphotographed surface of Mercury. Images are in a variety of wavelengths.

See the images and read more about the MESSENGER flyby.

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