Skip to comments.NASA Spacecraft Snaps 1st Photo of Mercury from Orbit
Posted on 03/29/2011 3:46:46 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The first spacecraft ever to circle Mercury has beamed home the first-ever photo taken of the small rocky planet from orbit, showing a stark landscape peppered with craters.
NASA's Messenger spacecraft snapped the new Mercury photo today (March 29) at 5:20 a.m. EDT (0920 GMT). The photo shows the stark gray landscape of southern Mercury, a view that is dominated by a huge impact crater.
"This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system's innermost planet," Messenger mission scientists explained in a statement.
The new Mercury photo shows a region around the south pole of Mercury. A 53-mile (85-kilometer) wide crater called Debussy clearly stands out in the upper right of the image, with bright rays emanating from its center.
A smaller crater called Matabei, which is 15 miles (24 km) wide and is known for its "unusual dark rays," is also visible in the image to the west of the Debussy crater, mission managers explained.
The new Mercury photo was posted to the Messenger mission website managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which is overseeing the flight for NASA.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
NASA's Mercury Messenger probe captured this historic image of Mercury, the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system's innermost planet. The photo was taken on Tuesday (March 29) at 5:20 am EDT.
CREDIT: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Isn’t that the Congress Womaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, Sheila Jackson-Lee down there in the lower right of the picture?
Interesting. Looks exactly like our moon. BTW, does anyone know how the spacecraft handles the heat/cold differential between night and day? Isn’t it the greatest difference in the solar system?
Looks like a volcano or mountain of some sort to the left of the main crater. Look at the 8 - 9 o’clock position in relation to the crater.
It’s a big airless rock alright.
I'm sure all of this is Constitutional. /sarc
Mercury ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids...
All NASA has to do is put one military component on all spacecraft, and then maybe you'll let it go.
The hottest desert on Earth is a cool icy glass of lemonade compared to that place.
But it's not cold as hell... ;-)
Just think, it’s there to celebrate all the accomplishments and contributions of Muslims in space exploration.
Could we ever go there, I mean, like on the dark side?
Only if we go at night.
Long cold nights.
Looks like our Moon.
Wow! That pic of the Earth is one of the most awesome I’ve ever seen!!! I’ve always wondered what our planet looks like from the other planets. Too bad it isn’t in color.
In case you're not paying attention, the military launches its own stuff. Anyone who suggests that there is any military benefit to taking close up photos of Mercury must surely be delusional. There's a good chance I'm more interested in this stuff than you are. I've seen at least three transits of Mercury. But most people couldn't care less. Asking them to subsidize it is just plain immoral; and unconstitutional besides.
I'll take NASA every time.
“...Too bad it isnt in color...”
I think it is.
Did Planet Mercury get its name so as to show what happens to your planet when you break too many CFL lightbulbs?
I can do without both.
Then you wouldn’t object to getting rid of NOAA as well. Or the USGS.
VERY cool! Closely resembles what Venus looks like from Earth. Thanks for sharing!
Mercury has an odd orbit and day night cycle.
3 days per “Mercurian” year with the length of day varying with the planet’s distance from the sun. From what I’m reading the sun would be nearly dead still in the sky at perigee.
I'm not going there again... ;-)
“NASA costs us roughly $6.00 each, per year. NPR/PBS costs $3.50.”
Cool. I’d be alright with zeroing out NPR and giving their entire budget to NASA so long as they first fire James Hansen.
It uses a ceramic cloth sun-shield and the camera is insulated from the rest of the craft by a paraffin barrier. On the side of the planet facing the Sun, heat is carried from the instruments to the paraffin, which melts. On the dark side of the planet, the paraffin solidifies, transferring heat away from the spacecraft.
No. I wouldn't. But at least one could argue that these serve some military purpose. But we really don't need weather predictors any more than we need tank builders. Somehow the tanks are built by private enterprise, but all the private weather forecasters out there aren't good enough apparently.
The photograph confirmed what scientists have long suspected: the planet Mercury is basically a rebadged version of the planet Ford.
At both 90° Longitudes you get a triple sunrise/ sunset
In the morning in the east
The sun will rise then turn around and set (still in the east) then re-rise again in the east
A mercury day later
The sun will set in the west but then it will re-rise (in the west) and then set again.
It actually shouldn't.
Inner planets (from Earth) will look like a crescent moon. Consider that to see Venus as full it would have to be on the other side of the sun. When we see Venus at its brightest, it is only a quarter lit from our perspective. Imagine the sun at the center of a clock and earth at the tip of the big hand on the 6. Venus would be at the tip of the little hand on the 9 when we see it at its brightest (actuall it might be at the 7 or 8, that is, closer to Earth but less surface area lit from our perspective). The quarter that is facing the sun but on the opposite to us is lit, but we cannot see it.
However, for outer planets (and Earth would be outer from Venus), the entire side facing Venus would be lit when they are both on the same side of the sun.
That's why Earth looks like a disc from Venus, but Venus would look like a crescent moon from Earth.
Sounds good to me. And I'd jettison Charles Bolden along with Hansen. I'd replace them with Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin.
WOW! That’s some impact crater. Looks like it was hit with an extremely fast, and hard round of some kind. Whatever made a splat that big had to be really moving when it hit and I’ll betcha it struck one hell of a big spark...
If you are looking at what I’m looking at, it looks like it is leaving a shadow.
They made an extremely effective insulation blanket that the spacecraft keeps between itself and the sun at all times. It’s very light and very efficient...
There probably is a military component on there but it’s a secret.
We need to claim Mercury for the US before someone else gets it like the Canadians.
Thanks for the info/explanation.
Do they have any photos of Uranus?
Neither is any place controlled by Democrats(Detroit MI, Philadelphia PA, Camden NJ)
That's what it looks like. Has to be a protuberance of some kind.
Well, it IS away from the influence of Congress.