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First Photo of Mercury from it’s Orbit

“NASA on Tuesday released an image of Mercury captured by its Messenger spacecraft – the first ever obtained from the planet’s orbit.

The first image came in at 5:20am Eastern yesterday, and over the next six hours, Messenger captured an additional 363 images, which are still being transmitted to the Messenger team on Earth. In the next three days, the spacecraft will capture another 1,185 images, with the goal of snapping 75,000 over the next year.

The bottom of the image, meanwhile, is near Mercury’s south pole and includes a region not previously seen by spacecraft, NASA said.

Messenger successfully achieved orbit around Mercury at 9pm Eastern on March 17, the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this feat. The spacecraft’s instruments were activated on March 23 and the primary science phase will begin on April 4.”

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