Spacecraft Messenger spacecraft began orbiting Mercury on March 17, 2011 managed to capture the first image of the solar system's innermost planet is. The images show the southern hemisphere of Mercury, an area dominated by the former crater collision.
Messenger capture these images on Tuesday (03/29/2011) evening hrs. "This photograph is the first photograph ever taken by a spacecraft orbiting space inner planets of this solar system," said one scientist who runs the mission.
On top of that image, it appears crater 85 kilometers wide called Debussy. A bright light seem to have emerged from the middle of the crater. In the west Debussy, there are other smaller craters and wide as 15 kilometers named Matabei. This crater is known as an unusual darkness.
The image has been posted to the Messenger mission site managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. That image is one of 363 images taken within the first 6 hours of observation Messenger. Hopefully, the Messenger can retrieve the image area that has never been shown before.
Messenger into orbit Mercury after 6.5 years of travel. Now, the vehicle space that surrounds the planet nearest the sun in an elliptical orbit with the closest distance of 200 kilometers and 15,000 kilometers distant. Messenger which cost 446 million U.S. dollars will orbit and study Mercury for 1 year the Earth.
Scientific research Mercury will begin on 4 April, in which Messenger will begin to map the entire surface of the Earth's innermost planet. The mapping requires at least 75,000 images of Mercury. With this research, it is hoped the mystery about the geology, history, and the formation of Mercury can be answered.
Messenger stands for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging. Although Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, he was not the first vehicle that came to the planet. Previously, the spacecraft Mariner 10 spacecraft had passed Mercury three times in the '70s.
Source : Kompas.com