January 17, 2008

Mercury Image Gallery: How Can Such a Hot Planet Give Me Chills?

NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab have made available a MESSENGER mission image gallery. While it hasn't gotten a lot of publicity, the MESSENGER spacecraft is engaged in imaging the closest planet to the sun. Judging by the gallery, it's doing a heckuva job.

Mercury looks quite a bit like the moon to my untrained eye. It's hard to imagine that the smallest planet is a scorchingly hot place; the photos make it look so cold. I suppose that my unfailingly getting a chill up my neck whenever I look at pictures of another world doesn't exactly take away from that subjective experience, either.

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