NASA has just released more images of Mercury as seen by the MESSENGER spacecraft, and they’re pretty cool:
This first one is something of a repeat, showing the same region as the picture they released yesterday, but now it’s in color! Mercury is not exactly the most beautifully hued planet, but it does have some color to it. This composite was taken in the infrared (shown red in the image), red (shown as green in the image) and blue (shown as blue), and has a maximum resolution of about 2.7 kilometers (1.6 miles) per pixel. While most of the surface looks gray, look again: some of the craters do show subtle color variations. This is most likely due to the material excavated on impact — composition, particle size, and other factors change the way these features reflect light. This image only uses three colors, but the wide angle camera has
eight 11 filters, which will allow planetary scientists to map the planet very effectively and learn about the composition and history of the surface.