Astronomers have for the first time managed to get an image of Mercury from orbit


01/04/2011

Early in the morning of March 29, the automatic interplanetary station Messenger made a historic snapshot of the closest planet to the Sun. This is the first picture taken directly from the orbit of Mercury. Over the next six hours, MESSENGER took another 363 pictures, and then passed on the information to Earth. NASA team analyzes the information received, while it still continues to flow. The next day, March 30, NASA unveiled the other pictures from orbit.

A large crater, from which emanates a set of rays in the upper half of the image is called Debussy. Smaller - Matabei, with unusual black rays can be seen to the west of Debussy. The lower half of the picture, is the area close to the south pole and includes a region of Mercury, the planet’s surface never before seen by a spacecraft.

Over the next three days, MESSENGER will make 1185 more photos to be made during the commissioning phase dual-mode cameras MDIS. The primary scientific mission, which will last a year, will begin on April 4. During the orbital observations will be widely involved MDIS, which will make more than 75 000 images, which will help in achieving the scientific objectives Messenger.

March 17, 2011 Messenger became the first spacecraft to orbit released the smallest planet in our solar system. This mission is currently in a phase of deployment. At this stage, the spacecraft and instruments tested using a series of specially-designed control tests. Over one year, the automatic interplanetary station with seven scientific instruments on board will allow us to learn more about the history and evolution of Mercury.

Original: Messenger


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