Thursday 6 October 2011

Intriguing close up photograph of Mercury

The innermost planet closest to the sun has appeared since the Mariner space probe visited it in the 1970's to be dotted with holes, or what scientists refer to as having a Swiss cheese terrain and thought to be a geologically dead planet until now.

The image posted here is from the currently visiting Messenger probe, and is a colorized picture revealing mysterious blue hollows in the Raditladi impact basin.

Mercury is not just extremely hot but almost completely covered with dried lava and similar to  earth, in that they are the only magnetised planets in the solar system.

Messenger, is an anagram for "Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Rangin," was launched in 2004. The $446 million Messenger spacecraft began orbiting Mercury earlier this year. The documentary video here illustrates the way the probe deals with and uses the extreme heat from the Sun, and details the uses of the eleven on board precision cameras.

Go here to learn more about Mercury and the Messenger mission of discoveries, and or check out the image and story source, here.

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