First ever photos of Mercury from orbit/other science tidbits

March 30, 2011


Credit: NASA

You’re looking at an important piece of history when you look at the above photograph. That’s the first ever image of Mercury taken from orbit. NASA’s Messenger spacecraft successfully entered stable orbit around the solar system’s smallest planet, and yesterday morning we got the first images taken from said orbit. The spacecraft has taken other images of Mercury as it approached, but Messenger just recently actually entered a permanent/stable orbit, and will remain there for at least a year, studying this hot, battered planet in unprecedented detail. This is also the first time any spacecraft has orbited Mercury to begin with. (Via Discovery News)

In some other space-related news, NASA decided to pull the plug on James Cameron’s idea to install a 3D camera on the next Mars rover mission, Curiosity. Honestly, I love this idea, as it would have allowed anyone with 3D glasses to watch cinema quality footage from the surface of Mars. When you really think about that, it’s absolutely mind-boggling: 3D video footage from another planet. However, NASA felt that since this rover is already way over-budget, the risk of failure was too great because the cameras haven’t been thoroughly tested. I’m certain that this technology will end up on another NASA mission to Mars in the future. So just wait. In another 5-10 year’s we’ll be looking at HD footage from Mars in 3D. NBD… (Via i09)

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