NASA Releases Mercury Images

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:43pm

New view of tiny planet comes courtesy of Messenger probe

After a nearly seven year journey of 96 million miles, NASA's Messenger spacecraft has become the first to orbit the first planet from the sun.

It's now sending back photographs of Mercury's surface.

Scientists from the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the ones overseeing Messenger's mission, say although plenty of photos of Mercury exist none are this close or this clear.

Messenger is programmed to get 75,000 thousand images of different areas of Mercury.

The planet's surface is surface is hot enough to melt iron, but permanent shadows inside deep craters might make it cold enough for ice to form.

We got a brief look at part of Mercury 30 years ago when the Mariner space probe made a fast fly-by.

Messenger will circle our solar system's innermost planet for a year.
 

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