“Mercury Ahead!”: The BepiColombo Mission Has Captured Its First Views of Planet Mercury


ESA

The closest approach took place at 23:34 UTC on 1 October at an altitude of 199 km from the planet’s surface. Images from the spacecraft’s monitoring cameras, along with scientific data from a number of instruments, were collected during the encounter. The images were already downloaded over the course of Saturday morning, and a selection of first impressions are presented here. Continue reading »

Planet Mercury Unmasked: Fantastic Photos Of Crazy New Discoveries

There are competing theories about Mercury’s formation. Physical models pictured here invoke one or more giant impacts (left) or the vaporization of surface by a hot solar nebula to remove the planet’s original crust and outer mantle. Image Credit: Left: NASA/JPL/Caltech; Right: Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature [473(7348):460–461, © 2011] (NASA) Continue reading »