Jan 31, 2008

Messenger captures stunning images of Mercury

The pictures of planet Mercury sent by NASA's Messenger spacecraft surprised scientists. Why? Because these pictures revealed some of the most stunning geological formation on Mercury. Messenger spacecraft sped past Mercury on January 14 and sent back those pictures.

Researchers are amazed by the wealth of images and data that show a unique world in planet Mercury, with a diversity of geological processes and a very different magnetosphere from the one discovered and sampled more than 30 years ago.

The pictures shows a central depression with more than 100 narrow troughs radiating out from it. Researchers named it as "The Spider". Scientists were also surprised by evidence of ancient volcanoes on many parts of the planet's surface. These volcanoes are different, compared to those on Moon.

The cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments on Messenger, collected more than 1,200 images and made other science observations. Data included the first up-close measurements of Mercury since the Mariner 10 spacecraft's third and final flyby on March. Link


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