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Photo of the Day: Multicolored Mercury

posted: 04/29/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Unmasking the Secrets of Mercury
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has been diligently studying Mercury since 2011; its Mercury Atmosphere and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) has provided valuable information about the various geological features that comprise the planet's surface.

NASA overlaid the MASCS data over monochromatic photographs from the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) to create these awesome photos. The data from MASCS and MDIS are so detailed that astronomers are now able to study small features, such as pyroclastic vents and fresh craters, on the planet's surface.

MESSENGER is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Throughout its four-year mission, the spacecraft has taken a quarter of a million photographs of the planet. Later this week, the spacecraft will go out in a blaze of glory: after MESSENGER depletes its supply of fuel propellant, solar gravity will cause it to crash into Mercury's surface.

Click here for more information from NASA

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