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April 9, 2012 - Mercury’s Marvelous Morphology

Mercury’s Marvelous Morphology In March 2011, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to enter orbit around Mercury. During its first 176 days in orbit, equal to one solar day on Mercury, MESSENGER’s dual imaging system acquired over 75,000 images with both wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras. This data produced a high-resolution base map of the morphology (shape and texture) of ninety percent of the planet’s surface. MESSENGER also collected surface color data using eight separate narrow-band color filters. This image was created by using three images acquired as part of the color base map with the wavelengths of 1000, 750, and 430 nanometers displayed in red, green, and blue, respectively. The bright rayed crater at the bottom is Snorri, 21 kilometers (13 miles) in diameter.

Image credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Carnegie Institution of Washington

Weekly Calendar

April 9-15, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Monday 9

Easter Monday (Canada)

Vesta in conjunction with Sun

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

Tuesday 10

Pluto appears stationary

1919: John C. Houbolt born

Wednesday 11

1960: Project Ozma started
1970: Apollo 13 launched
1980: Viking 2 lander mission ends
1984: Challenger retrieves Solar Max
1986: Halley’s Comet closest to Earth

Thursday 12

Pluto 1° north of Moon

1961: Yuri Gagarin first human in space
1981: STS-1 Columbia launched
1985: STS-51D Discovery launched

Friday 13

Last Quarter Moon 6:50 AM ET

Saturday 14

1629: Christiaan Huygens born
1972: KSC and Vandenberg AFB picked as shuttle launch sites
2005: Expedition 11 crew launched to International Space Station

Sunday 15

Mars appears stationary
Saturn at opposition

1999: Landsat 7 launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.