MESSENGER's First Orbital Images of Mercury
30 March 2011
NASA's MESSENGER is sending back its first images from Mercury, including a first look at terrain near Mercury's north pole. The spacecraft made history on March 18 (March 17 in the U.S.) when it became the first spacecraft to enter orbit at our solar system's innermost planet.
"The entire MESSENGER team is thrilled that spacecraft and instrument checkout has been proceeding according to plan," says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "The first images from orbit and the first measurements from MESSENGER's other payload instruments are only the opening trickle of the flood of new information that we can expect over the coming year. The orbital exploration of the Solar System's innermost planet has begun." (5 images total):