Space probe "Messenger"
According to long-established tradition at the end of each year, the team automatic interplanetary station "Messenger" published a compilation of the top 12, in her opinion, Mercury pictures taken with the device in the past year. And the 2014 th was no exception.
Unfortunately, this collection is the last, because in just a few months, almost spent all their fuel unit will face the surface of Mercury.
Mercury is one of the most poorly known objects in the solar system. Prior to the "Messenger" it examined only one spacecraft - "Mariner 10", 3 times flown around the world in 1974-1975. Was filmed less than half of Mercury's surface, no data on the chemical composition, structure of the planet and much more. mission "Messenger" was organized to fill these gaps by NASA.
32-kilometer impact crater Kertész attracts an unusually bright material on the bottom surface. Next to the crater Kertész is another interesting object - a small 3-kilometer crater, which, judging from the brightness of ejected material and freshness beam system was formed relatively recently.
After the deprivation of Pluto in 2006, the planet Mercury status passed the title of the smallest planet of the solar system. Distance from Mercury to Earth varies from 82 to 217 million kilometers. Mercury's mass equals the total 0.055274 earth.
Mosaic 15-kilometer unnamed crater, on which you can see the roof of the cavity. These images have become one of the first captured after a probe lowered the height of its orbit, to be able to obtain more detailed images of Mercury. In addition, in February MESSENGER overcome another significant mark, making their 200,000 th image. Interestingly, when the very first mission of the project, its developers was introduced in 1996, set out to get a 1000 Mercury photos.
On Mercury there is no such seasons, as on Earth. This is due to the fact that the planet's axis of rotation is at almost right angles to the plane of the orbit. As a result, near the poles there are areas to which the sun's rays do not reach never.
Plain Heat - the greatest impact on the structure of Mercury, which is larger than 1500 kilometers. On the picture I got her part, 492 kilometers in diameter.
The proximity to the Sun and is quite slow rotation of the planet, as well as an extremely rarefied atmosphere lead to the fact that on Mercury observed the most dramatic change in temperature in the solar system. Mercury surface temperature ranges from -180 to +430 ° C. Sunny side heats up much more than the polar regions and the reverse side of the planet. The average temperature of the surface it is 350 ° C, night - all minus 170 ° C).
14-kilometer crater Waters interesting once splashed out of it and then frozen lava flow. Judging by the freshness, it was formed relatively recently in geological terms.
A fragment of 263-kilometer impact basin Raditladi, the bottom of which can be seen trough formed during the expansion of the surface rocks.
Quite pictorial couple 50-kilometer craters Sander (bright) and Munch (dark).
Image 130-kilometer crater Eminescu in visible light and infrared spectrum.
Cavity at the bottom of a small unnamed crater Mercury.
130-kilometer crater Hemingway.
After the formation of Mercury 4, 6 billion years ago there was an intensive bombardment of the planet asteroids and comets. Last powerful bombardment of the planet is over 3, 8 billion years ago. Some regions, such as Caloris Basin, is also formed at the expense of filling lava. This led to the formation of smooth surfaces inside craters like lunar.
3-D picture portion Pantheon. Pantheon located in the center is called the Caloris Basin region, which is unique in the solar system. It is a system of grooves, which diverge from a common center and extend for hundreds of kilometers over the surface of Mercury. Apparently, they were formed in the surface tension.
Polar craters Tolkien and Chesterton Truggvadottir, the bottom of which is in the eternal shade. However MESSENGER still managed to look inside them. To achieve this, the researchers conducted multiple shooting craters, and then used as the illumination areas are in the eternal shadows of the light scattered from the edges of the craters. As a result, it obtained the first image of ice located on the bottom of the crater.
In order to go into orbit around the planet, "messenger" It took six and a half years. For comparison, the flight to Pluto, far more remote, the mission "New Horizons" will take only three more years (but the device "New Horizons" will not enter the orbit of Pluto, and the span will make observations of the dwarf planet).
At the edge of Mercury. Part of the surface of the planet where you can see plain Heat and 85-kilometer crater Po (bottom left corner).