NASA unveils images of Mercury
31 January, 2008
WASHINGTON: NASA on Wednesday unveiled images and data taken by the MESSENGER probe on its flight over un-chartered terrain of Mercury, the solar system`s smallest and closest planet to the sun.
"This flyby allowed us to see a part of the planet never before viewed by spacecraft, and our little craft has returned a gold mine of exciting data," Sean Solomon, MESSENGER`s chief investigator from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, told a press conference.
"From the perspectives of spacecraft performance and maneuver accuracy, this encounter was near-perfect, and we are delighted that all of the science data are now on the ground," he added.
The expert said Mercury "was not the planet we were expecting," adding that investigators found it to be "a very dynamic planet," with active volcano and magnetosphere.