January 18, 2008

Mercury Messenger Flyby 1 Summary

MESSENGER has returned quite a few high quality Mercury photographs. Check these out; the surface details are of the side of Mercury the Mariner 10 missions did not photograph!

The cratered surface of Mercury has not been visited in about 30 years. Only 45% of the surface of Mercury has been imaged by the Mariner 10. MESSENGER has a full suite of scientific instruments and will be able to tell us many things about the geological history, and hopefully about the highly reflective material (possibly water-ice in the perpetual shadows) of the north and south poles, of Mercury as well as image the remaining portion of the planet unseen by the previous Mariner mission.

The official MESSENGER website has a slew of great, entertaining, and interactive information pertaining to Mercury. Check it out for some fast facts, great animations, and even an interactive quiz or two to test your Mercurian knowledge.