Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NASA’s $450 Million Messenger Probe Achieves Orbit Around Mercury

Messenger probe has achieved orbit around Mercury; a tricky feat never before attempted.
Mercury; the overheated, under appreciated runt of the solar system is finally getting some attention.
Now, after poring over 100,000 images and reams of other Messenger probe data, space scientists have achieved consensus: Mercury is one weird world.
It is radically unlike the other rocky bodies of our solar system — Venus, Mars, Earth, the moon, and the moons of other planets. Its core is too big; its surface too scrunched. It looks shriveled, like a liposuction patient left with too much skin. It contains too much iron. Its internal structure is confounding. Its magnetic field is out of whack, asymmetrical. And its surface is strange, a jagged, ragged landscape of soaring escarpments, snaking faults, half-buried “ghost craters,” dead volcanoes and mysterious pit-marked “hollows.”
Messenger probe orbiting Mercury
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