Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spectacular New Images of Mercury From the Messenger Spacecraft

NASA's Messenger spacecraft yesterday returned stunning new images of the planet Mercury, really showing parts of the Sun's nearest neighbor in close-up for the first time. The views show a rocky terrestrial satellite that bears a strong resemblance to our own Moon. In fact, I'm struck just how much it looks like the Moon's far side, minus the occasional Maria blotch.
Still, as Jim Oberg pointed out earlier, there are some interesting things to see on the images. I'm always fascinated by the fact that some craters look so bright in these images. What are they, glass craters?

I also love the radial spoke pattern in some of the images. I can't help but have a sense of awe and mystery when I look at another world for the first time. I wonder what mysteries we'd uncover if we went there ourselves?
More pics at the Messenger web site.

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