Seared by a Sun shining ten times stronger than it does at Earth, Mercury is a burnt-out cinder, a roasted Moon-like world -- or is it? NASA's MESSENGER mission, the first orbiter of the smallest planet, has revealed a tumultuous volcanic past, enigmatic recent "hollows," and a dynamic exosphere. And it's chasing after clues from Earth-based radar surveys that Mercury could be hiding water ice in permanently shadowed craters near its poles.
Recent Blog Articles About Mercury
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/12 01:27 CST
Well, it's already mid-day on the Friday a week after the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ended and I'm STILL not done writing up my notes.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/04 02:41 CST
Mercury is the smallest of the eight planets and, like Uranus and Neptune, has so far been studied only during flyby encounters.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/05 08:00 CST
As MESSENGER zoomed toward Mercury for its third flyby, it was commanded to rotate in a maneuver that would help it test a surprising result from the second flyby.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 09:00 CDT
MESSENGER is fast approaching the third and final Mercury flyby during its seven-year journey to the innermost planet.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/10/30 09:00 CDT
When MESSENGER flew past Mercury for a second time on October 6, 2008, its cameras snapped photos of an impressive 30 percent of the planet's surface that had never previously been seen by spacecraft.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/09/30 09:00 CDT
Yesterday, the MESSENGER spacecraft sailed past Mercury at an altitude of just 228 kilometres and a relative speed of 5.4 kilometers per second.
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