Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Not Exactly the Solar System's Garden Spot

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanMarch 22, 2013 6:01 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

A mosaic of images from the Messenger spacecraft show the entire surface of Mercury. (Image: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) I know, this is supposed to be a blog about planet Earth, not our neighbors in the solar system. But when a Facebook friend posted these images of Mercury to her wall, I thought they were so beautiful that I just had to share them. The images show both sides of Mercury, and 100% of the surface. Scientists made them by stitching together thousands of individual images from the Messenger spacecraft, which, in a first, has been orbiting the planet since March 18, 2011. So far, the spacecraft has taken more than 160,000 images. Now in an extended mission mode, it is still going. And going... The pockmarked surface of Mercury is testament to bombardment by meteors, with younger craters showing up as light blue or whitish. Lava flows are evident in the tan regions. For more information, as well as visualizations, check out NASA's Visualization Explorer.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In