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The Glowing, Shattered Face of Mercury

Illustration for article titled The Glowing, Shattered Face of Mercury

NASA's Messenger spacecraft zoomed past Mercury yesterday, sending back a set of luminous images that look like they were taken by celebrated nature photographer Ansel Adams in space. Here you can see the bright pocks left by recent meteors crashing to the planet's surface, opening up complicated webs of cracks. Want to see those cracks close up?

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Illustration for article titled The Glowing, Shattered Face of Mercury

Of course you do. Most of this region of the planet has never before been photographed. The stark shadows you see in the ridges here are caused by the area's proximity to the dividing line between night and day on the planet, which exists in a constant state of boiling heat or freezing cold. Stunning New Views of Mercury [via Space]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

Mercury is the most sadly neglected planets in terms of space exploration. Really, we have to send some landers there one day. If only to take pictures of a sky where the sun takes up such an enormous portion of it. If only to see what the surface is really like.