Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Mercury, as seen by Messenger. The craft will circle the sun’s closest planetary companion for a year, mapping out Mercury's surface.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

The crater Machaut, about 60 miles in diameter, was first seen under high-sun conditions by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. This image shows an amazing new view of Machaut taken during Messenger's second fly-by of Mercury. The slanting rays of the Sun cast shadows that reveal numerous small craters and intricate features. The largest crater within Machaut appears to have been inundated by lava flows similar to those that have filled most of the floor of the larger feature. The adjacent, slightly smaller crater was formed at a later time and excavated material below the lava-formed surface.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

About 58 minutes before Messenger's closest approach to Mercury, the NAC, or narrow angle camera, captured this close-up image of a portion of the planet's surface. The features in the foreground, near the right side of the image, are close to the terminator, the line between the sunlit and the dark sides of the planet, so shadows are long and prominent. Two very long scarps, or cliffs, are visible in this region. The easternmost scarp also cuts through a crater, indicating that it formed after the impact that created the crater. Other neighboring impact craters, such as in the upper left of this image, appear to be filled with smooth plains material.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

The Debussy crater is seen at the top of the image in great detail. The Messenger mission will observe Mercury's magnetic fields and examine its surface composition.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

Among the mysteries scientists are looking to settle with the spacecraft’s septet of instruments is whether there is ice in Mercury’s polar caps.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

This image taken by Messenger's wide angle camera was snapped nine minutes and 14 seconds after the spacecraft's closest approach to Mercury on its second fly-by. An impact feature at the top of the image is called Polygnotus and is about 83 miles in diameter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

Earth, as photographed by Messenger.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / Johns Hopkins University

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | Dec. 27, 2013

A Lebanese army soldier stands next to a destroyed car at the scene of an explosion in central Beirut, which killed several people, including Mohammed Chatah, a senior aide to...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

reFramed: In conversation with John Chervinsky

“reFramed” is a feature showcasing fine art photography and vision-forward photojournalism. It is curated by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Barbara Davidson....   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | Sept. 5, 2013

In Thursday's Pictures in the News, technicians work on the vertical stabilizer of an experimental version of a cargo hauling airship being built by Worldwide Aeros Corp. in a...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | Oct. 23, 2012

In Tuesday's Pictures in the News: Firefighters battle a fire that engulfed a residential area in Manila, destroying nearly 400 homes; observances of the Chung Yeung Festival,...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | Jan. 18, 2012

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins high in the Alps of Switzerland, where Lindsey Jacobellis competes during the qualification at the women's snowboard cross World Cup...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Tornadoes plague the Midwest

The death toll has risen to 139 following the tornado that ripped into Joplin, Mo., destroying or damaging homes, a hospital and commercial buildings in its path. Oklahoma and...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

The Week in Pictures | April 4-10, 2011

A vehicle destroyed by fire is removed by rescue workers on a motorway near the German village of Kavelstorf after 80 vehicles collided during a sandstorm, with many catching...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | March 3, 2011

President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon hold a news conference at the White House; the violence in Libya escalates as thousands flee the bloodshed, crowding...   View Post»

   

First images of Mercury from Messenger

Pictures in the News | Aug. 18, 2010

Today's Pictures in the News feature brings us an image of a crumpled L.A. newspaper from the 1930s discovered with the mummified remains of two infants; exercise under the...   View Post»

First images of Mercury from Messenger

The first images of Mercury from the Messenger spacecraft mission were sent back to Earth on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a selection of images were released by NASA. The spacecraft entered orbit about Mercury on March 17. See more photos.

1 Comment

  1. March 31, 2011, 12:14 am

    in fact,i am very much happy to have read this article,i say more grease to your elbow

    By: ndukwe frank

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published