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NASA Spacecraft Snaps 1st Photo of Mercury from Orbit
Space.com ^ | 3/29/11 | Nasa

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 ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: greenbank; mercury; messenger; nasa; robertcbyrd; spacecraft; telescope; westvirginia
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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

1 posted on 03/29/2011 3:46:49 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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2 posted on 03/29/2011 3:48:19 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed .. Monthly Donor Onboard .. Obama: Epic Fail or Bust!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Hey!

Isn’t that the Congress Womaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, Sheila Jackson-Lee down there in the lower right of the picture?


3 posted on 03/29/2011 3:50:46 PM PDT by Howie66 (I can see November (2012) from my house.)
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To: NormsRevenge

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?


4 posted on 03/29/2011 3:51:21 PM PDT by boop ("Let's just say they'll be satisfied with LESS"... Ming the Merciless)
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To: NormsRevenge

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.


5 posted on 03/29/2011 3:52:39 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge

Yup.

It’s a big airless rock alright.


6 posted on 03/29/2011 3:55:11 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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To: NormsRevenge
Looks just like the old pictures.

I'm sure all of this is Constitutional. /sarc

ML/NJ

7 posted on 03/29/2011 3:56:07 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: NormsRevenge
Photo taken by Messenger of Earth and Moon from a distance of 114 million miles:


8 posted on 03/29/2011 3:58:35 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge

Mercury ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids...


9 posted on 03/29/2011 4:00:57 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Tagline closed for repairs. Please use the next available tagline. We appreciate your patience.)
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To: ml/nj
I'm sure all of this is Constitutional. /sarc

All NASA has to do is put one military component on all spacecraft, and then maybe you'll let it go.

10 posted on 03/29/2011 4:01:54 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge

The hottest desert on Earth is a cool icy glass of lemonade compared to that place.


11 posted on 03/29/2011 4:02:55 PM PDT by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: Repeal The 17th
Mercury ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids...

But it's not cold as hell... ;-)

12 posted on 03/29/2011 4:03:25 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge

Just think, it’s there to celebrate all the accomplishments and contributions of Muslims in space exploration.


13 posted on 03/29/2011 4:03:54 PM PDT by Darksheare (Dear Interdimensional Monstrosity, I fear our relationship has taken a turn for the worse...)
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To: buccaneer81

Could we ever go there, I mean, like on the dark side?


14 posted on 03/29/2011 4:06:30 PM PDT by fhayek
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To: buccaneer81
All NASA has to do is put one military component on all spacecraft

It worked for Lewis and Clark.

I'd like to see a side by side comparison of what entitlements and regulatory agencies cost me personally per year as opposed to what this stuff costs me per year.
15 posted on 03/29/2011 4:06:47 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: fhayek

Only if we go at night.


16 posted on 03/29/2011 4:08:02 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Tagline closed for repairs. Please use the next available tagline. We appreciate your patience.)
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To: fhayek

Long cold nights.


17 posted on 03/29/2011 4:08:37 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: NormsRevenge

Looks like our Moon.


18 posted on 03/29/2011 4:08:53 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: fhayek
What? Don't you like a little sunshine...
19 posted on 03/29/2011 4:10:05 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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To: buccaneer81

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.


20 posted on 03/29/2011 4:11:01 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: buccaneer81
All NASA has to do is put one military component on all spacecraft, and then maybe you'll let it go.

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.

ML/NJ

21 posted on 03/29/2011 4:13:42 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: cripplecreek
NASA costs us roughly $6.00 each, per year. NPR/PBS costs $3.50.

I'll take NASA every time.

22 posted on 03/29/2011 4:15:02 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge
Cool pics.

Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW

23 posted on 03/29/2011 4:15:24 PM PDT by csvset
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To: buccaneer81
I'll take NASA every time.


As long as they're doing stuff like this. (Their true mission)
24 posted on 03/29/2011 4:17:50 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: KoRn

“...Too bad it isn’t in color...”
-
I think it is.


25 posted on 03/29/2011 4:18:22 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Tagline closed for repairs. Please use the next available tagline. We appreciate your patience.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Did Planet Mercury get its name so as to show what happens to your planet when you break too many CFL lightbulbs?


26 posted on 03/29/2011 4:18:40 PM PDT by C210N (0bama, Making the US safe for Global Marxism)
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To: buccaneer81

I can do without both.


27 posted on 03/29/2011 4:20:00 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Tagline closed for repairs. Please use the next available tagline. We appreciate your patience.)
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To: KoRn
Earth from the surface of Mars:


28 posted on 03/29/2011 4:20:55 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: ml/nj

Then you wouldn’t object to getting rid of NOAA as well. Or the USGS.


29 posted on 03/29/2011 4:22:27 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: buccaneer81

VERY cool! Closely resembles what Venus looks like from Earth. Thanks for sharing!


30 posted on 03/29/2011 4:27:20 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: fhayek

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.


31 posted on 03/29/2011 4:28:33 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: ml/nj
I'm sure all of this is Constitutional. /sarc

I'm not going there again... ;-)

-PJ

32 posted on 03/29/2011 4:30:41 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, and American on Election Day.)
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To: buccaneer81

“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.


33 posted on 03/29/2011 4:37:14 PM PDT by MeganC (NO WAR FOR OIL! ........except when a Democrat's in charge.)
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To: boop

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.


34 posted on 03/29/2011 4:38:20 PM PDT by jmcenanly ( "We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him." -Samuel)
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To: buccaneer81
Then you wouldn’t object to getting rid of NOAA as well. Or the USGS.

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.

ML/NJ

35 posted on 03/29/2011 4:38:46 PM PDT by ml/nj
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To: NormsRevenge

Nice post!


36 posted on 03/29/2011 4:40:17 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: NormsRevenge
Makes me want to cruise up and down the road.

37 posted on 03/29/2011 4:41:25 PM PDT by I see my hands (Embrace misanthropy)
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To: NormsRevenge
NASA's Messenger spacecraft snapped the new Mercury photo today (March 29) at 5:20 a.m. EDT (0920 GMT).

The photograph confirmed what scientists have long suspected: the planet Mercury is basically a rebadged version of the planet Ford.

38 posted on 03/29/2011 4:47:12 PM PDT by GreenHornet
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To: cripplecreek
From what I’m reading the sun would be nearly dead still in the sky at perigee.

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.

39 posted on 03/29/2011 4:51:23 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: KoRn
Closely resembles what Venus looks like from Earth.

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.

-PJ

40 posted on 03/29/2011 4:52:15 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, and American on Election Day.)
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To: MeganC
I’d be alright with zeroing out NPR and giving their entire budget to NASA so long as they first fire James Hansen.

Sounds good to me. And I'd jettison Charles Bolden along with Hansen. I'd replace them with Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin.

41 posted on 03/29/2011 4:52:51 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: NormsRevenge

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...


42 posted on 03/29/2011 4:54:57 PM PDT by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: buccaneer81

If you are looking at what I’m looking at, it looks like it is leaving a shadow.


43 posted on 03/29/2011 4:56:05 PM PDT by lonestar (It takes a village of idiots to elect a village idiot.)
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To: boop

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...


44 posted on 03/29/2011 4:56:30 PM PDT by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: buccaneer81

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.


45 posted on 03/29/2011 5:05:42 PM PDT by mhx
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To: Political Junkie Too

Thanks for the info/explanation.


46 posted on 03/29/2011 5:09:55 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: NormsRevenge

Do they have any photos of Uranus?


47 posted on 03/29/2011 5:11:25 PM PDT by Tex-Con-Man
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To: Repeal The 17th
"Mercury ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids..."

Neither is any place controlled by Democrats(Detroit MI, Philadelphia PA, Camden NJ)

48 posted on 03/29/2011 5:19:21 PM PDT by wmileo
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To: lonestar
If you are looking at what I’m looking at, it looks like it is leaving a shadow.

That's what it looks like. Has to be a protuberance of some kind.

49 posted on 03/29/2011 5:37:16 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: Repeal The 17th
Mercury ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids...

Well, it IS away from the influence of Congress.

50 posted on 03/29/2011 6:55:27 PM PDT by GingisK
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