Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

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Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Draykov » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:52 am

http://www.space.com/11254-nasa-photos- ... craft.html

The first spacecraft ever to circle Mercury has beamed home the first-ever photo taken of the small rocky planet from orbit, showing a stark landscape peppered with craters...Messenger arrived at Mercury on March 17, more than 6 1/2 years after its launch from Earth.
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Admiral Netsooj » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:56 pm

Looks awfully like the Moon. Pretty cool anyways.
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby KDog » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:53 pm

Any time there's new photos of another planet, I get excited!
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Stargorger » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:02 am

Yeah I was disappointed too. Not that I was expecting Pandora or anything, but I was hoping for some more varied terrain at least: it does look exactly like the moon, albeit less pock-marked.
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby aotus » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:55 pm

Wow, it has been so many years since MESSENGER launched that I forgot about it!

But I suppose that the long travel time had a point. As I recall, they saved about $100 million in launch and fuel costs by using multiple gravity-assist maneuvers instead of a straight-to-Mercury trajectory.
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Sir Michael Le Fanu » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:49 pm

Freaking cool. How does it have "ice caps" if its so close to the sun? :?
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Stargorger » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:28 am

Sir Michael Le Fanu wrote:Freaking cool. How does it have "ice caps" if its so close to the sun? :?


They could be nitrogen ice (or maybe not, but you know what I mean...a chemical). Or...?? Maybe its orbit is such that the polar region is kept normally un-exposed?
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Re: Messenger probe takes first orbital shots of Mercury

Postby Sir Michael Le Fanu » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:19 pm

Stargorger wrote:
Sir Michael Le Fanu wrote:Freaking cool. How does it have "ice caps" if its so close to the sun? :?


They could be nitrogen ice (or maybe not, but you know what I mean...a chemical). Or...?? Maybe its orbit is such that the polar region is kept normally un-exposed?



Excellent point.
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