MESSENGER takes aim at Mercury

MESSENGER takes aim at Mercury

MESSENGER takes aim at Mercury

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Jan. 12 2008 1:10 PM

MESSENGER takes aim at Mercury

I posted a few days ago that NASA's MESSENGER probe is headed toward a rendezvus with Mercury on Monday. In the comments, BigBob noted that the first image has been returned!

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This was taken on January 11, when the spacecraft was still 1.7 million kilometers from the planet. On Monday, it will pass about 200 km over the surface (yikes!). It will fly on, making two more passes of Mercury over time before settling into orbit, and making a detailed map of this planet. That'll be in 2011, so the images we see from this first of three flybys will have to do you for now.