His­toric im­age of Mer­cury

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

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

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