Mercury: Images of a Violent Planet

NASA's MESSGENGER spacecraft probes innermost planet in the solar system.

Mercury: Images of a Violent Planet

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The Messenger successfully flew by Mercury Oct. 6, 2008, using the planet's gravity to alter the probe's path and help put it on track to become, in March 2011, the first spacecraft ever to orbit the innermost planet in the solar system. This image, acquired about 89 minutes before the craft's closest approach to Mercury, resembles the images taken leading up to the flyby. The resolution of this image is slightly better than that obtained by the final optical navigation image set. The surface visible is newly imaged terrain that was not previously seen by either Mariner 10 or during the Messenger's first flyby. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)
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