jump to navigation

MESSENGER swings past Mercury October 6, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
Tags: , , ,
trackback
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Mercury's unseen hemisphere, imaged by MESSENGER on its first flyby in January 2008. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The NASA MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) probe swung by Mercury for the second time in the early hours of today. The smallest planet in the solar system since Pluto’s downgrading, Mercury has always been a bit of a mystery to scientists.

What we do know is that it’s a pretty hostile place with big extremes of temperature because of its proximity to the Sun. Also, the planet’s gravitational pull is too small to hold on to anything but the thinnest of atmsophere.

NASA’s MESSENGER probe is the first space mission to visit Mercury since Mariner 10 in the mid-1970s. Until its arrival at Mercury and the first flyby that took place in January of this year, an entire hemisphere of the planet had never been imaged. So we’re all very excited about seeing the pictures from MESSENGER. I’ll post them here when they’re released!

Advertisements

Comments»

1. SarahAskew » New Views of Mercury - October 14, 2010

[…] I blogged before about the MESSENGER probe’s second flyby of the planet Mercury that took place yesterday morning. Images have now been officially released and they’re fabulous – see them here! Remember that much of Mercury’s surface had never been seen by humans before in any detail. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: