The first shot from the Messenger Mission to Mercury. It’s pretty:
Larger version here.
Hmm. maybe the spooky face-looking mountains are on the other side . . . .
I think they just Photoshopped the pictures from the faked Moon Landing. My Tinfoil Hat of Protection +2 prevents me from being taken in.
So where is Eric John Stark’s condo?
Damn. That is one stark looking plot of rock. Yikes.
I’m confused I was reading the link that you provided and it said the Messenger wont reach Mercury’s orbit until 2011, but that picture was taken from 17,000 miles away from the planet itself and its the yr 2008. Did I go into the future somehow.
No, it’s a fly by. From the Wikipedia article on the mission:
“MESSENGER performed a successful Earth swingby a year after launch, on 2 August 2005, with the closest approach at 19:13 UTC at an altitude of 2,347 kilometers (1,458 statute miles) over central Mongolia. On December 12, 2005, a 524 second long burn (‘Deep-Space Maneuver’ or ‘DSM-1′) of the large thruster adjusted the trajectory for the upcoming Venus swing-by. MESSENGER made its first flyby of Venus at 08:34 UTC on October 24, 2006 at an altitude of 2,992 kilometers (1,859 mi). A second flyby of Venus was made at 23:08 UTC on June 5, 2007 at an altitude of 338 kilometers (210 mi). On October 17, 2007, ‘Deep-Space Maneuver-2′ or ‘DSM-2′ was executed successfully, putting MESSENGER on target for its first flyby of Mercury. MESSENGER made a flyby of Mercury on 14 January 2008 (closest approach 200 km above surface of Mercury at 19:04:39 UTC), and will make two more flybys of Mercury on October 6, 2008 and September 29, 2009, successively slowing down the spacecraft. Mercury orbit insertion will be on March 18, 2011, beginning a year-long orbital mission.”
Stark’s condo blew into a cloud of incandescent fragments just about 30 terrestrial days after they found out the planet actually did revolve.
Damn it I really wanted it to be the yr 2011, wanted to see if we got those flying cars that was promised all those yrs back.
You know, for being so close to the Sun it looks awfully dark there. Shouldn’t it be brighter? :)
As always, NASA needs to have a lot more eye candy like the flyby pictures. I’ll really get my geek on in a couple of years when they (hopefully) figure out a little bit about Mercury’s magnetic field.
Yeah, the magnetic field thing’s been keeping me up at night too. I’ve been planning a pole-to-pole trek of Mercury but, in the absence of GPS there, I was gonna use my trusty compass to get a bearing; right now the whole trip’s on hold.
Steve, the rocket scientists at NASA are smart puppies — Messenger is wearing sunglasses.
Dr. Phil, well, that makes sense. More than the albedo argument. I mean, you wouldn’t want to blind the craft. I wonder if they’re RayBans? You know, time goes slower there, maybe it’s still the 50s. :)
Mercury’s puny diameter (4,878 km) relative to our moon’s diameter (3,456 km) amazes me. I’m eternally grateful for our big ‘ole moon and the resulting warm tidal pools. Would be Mercurians would be jealous.
This one shows chains of sized craters, like something spattered across the surface.
Anyone know what’s up with that?
Hee. I wonder if they splilled their coffee.
The planetary Society blog suggests they are secondaries from one of the larger craters.
The Old Ones skipping stones perhaps?
If you look reaaaaaaaal closely, you can see ALFgiving us the finger.
it looks just like a moon. i used to think looking at stars was for geeks nerds etc but when we had that star party at my school ive been interested in stars last night i got to see saturn
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