Remember MESSENGER, the spacecraft under way to Mercury? On its complicated path that will make it the first satellite to enter into an orbit around the innermost planet, MESSENGER had its second close encounter with Mercury earlier today: At 08:40 UTC, the probe rushed past the planet at a height of 199.7 kilometers (124.1 miles) and a maximal velocity relative to Mercury of 6.616 km/s (4.111 miles per second or 14,800 miles per hour).
The photo was taken by MESSENGER on Sunday, October 5, 2008, for optical navigation purposes. The crescent shows parts of the surface of Mercury which have never been seen by spacecraft before.
More about MESSENGER to come soon...
TAGS: MERCURY, MESSENGER