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Surprising Science

First Ever Photos of Mercury

N.A.S.A.’s Messenger spacecraft, which entered orbit around Mercury on March 17, sent its first images of the hot planet’s surface, including its previously unseen southern pole, back to Earth.

N.A.S.A.’s Messenger spacecraft is taking some first ever photos of Mercury’s surface while orbiting the closest planet to our Sun. “The first image, received by the Messenger mission team at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., at 5:20 a.m. Eastern time, captures areas near the planet’s southern pole that have never been seen before—areas that could host water in the form of ice. It was soon followed by 363 more images over the next six hours. NASA plans to release additional images Wednesday.”


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