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MESSENGER Snaps Highest-Resolution Images of Mercury’s Surface Ever

Some planets look better at a distance.


The MESSENGER spacecraft took an upclose look at the surface of Mercury yesterday and captured the highest-resolution images of the planet to date.

At just five meters per pixel, the above image trumps the previous record-setting resolution of seven meters per pixel. The seven meter per pixel image was taken using MESSENGER’s Narrow Angle Camera on April 30th, 2012. The new image was captured using MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).

Now that MESSENGER has completely mapped Mercury’s surface, it has moved into a lower orbit of just 124 miles above the surface where it can focus on specific targets. That means we should be getting more images of this or possibly even better resolution in the future as MESSENGER continues to orbit Mercury once every eight hours.

(via PHYS.ORG, image via NASA)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.