September 19, 2017

First image of planet mercury from orbiting spacecraft

It is not exactly prime real estate from an agricultural perspective, but it is intensely facinating.

The MESSENGER spacecraft has captured a historic image of Planet Mercury. It is the first image obtained from a spacecraft in orbit of our Solar Systems innermost planet.

For six hours, MESSENGER snapped an additional 363 images before downlinking some of the data to Earth. The MESSENGER team is currently looking over the newly returned data, which are still continuing to come down.

More information will follow as soon as it becomes available.

Looks like old Mercury has taken a fair hammering over the years.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.