Mercury’s “far side” for the first time, takes closeups

The MESSENGER probe captured this image of Mercury yesterday from 27,000 km away, giving us our first view of this previously unseen side of the planet. At the time, the probe was receding from its first flyby approach. [Click on the image to see a larger version.]

Mercury from 27000 km

As MESSENGER passed by, it snapped this image of the “near side” of Mercury, showing the crater Vivaldi on the right. Mariner 10 had imaged this part of Mercury on its pass in 1974.

Close up

NASA will be releasing more images as MESSENGER sends them for processing.

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