NASA's 'MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging' (or MESSENGER) spacecraft has been sending back data from Mercury, giving scientists a never-before seen view of the planet's surface. The Tech Herald has collected some of those images for an awesome look at the sun's closest neighbor.
On Oct. 6, 2008, the MESSENGER flew by Mercury for the second time this year, using the planetís gravity to keep the spacecraft on track for its next orbit insertion around three years from now.
To date, MESSENGER has sent more than 1,200 images back to Earth. These images offer information that "fills the gaps" in our understanding of the closest planet to the sun. They also offer insight into areas left unexplored by previous missions to Mercury. Scientists are now confident they have data covering some 95 percent of the planet.
All images owned by: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington.