Historic image of Mercury
NASA has released the first picture taken of Mercury’s surface by the US space agency’s orbiting Messenger craft.
‘ ‘ Messenger ( has) captured this historic image of Mercury,’’ NASA said.
‘‘ This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system’s innermost planet.’’
The spacecraft snapped 363 images over the next six hours, and more were expected to be released in conjunction with an expert press conference to discuss the findings.
The upper part of the image shows an unusual, darkrayed crater called Debussy, while the lower part reveals a portion of Mercury near its south pole that has never before been witnessed by spacecraft, NASA said.
Messenger was launched more than six years ago, travelling through the inner solar system and embarking on flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury.
It is the first NASA craft to study Mercury since the Mariner mission more than three decades ago.
CAPTIVATING: the first photo taken of Mercury’s surface