Mercury, MESSENGER January 2008 flyby

Mercury, MESSENGER January 2008 flyby

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Caption: Mercury. MESSENGER image of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. The MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft was launched from Earth in August 2004. After a series of flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury, to slow the spacecraft down, it will enter orbit around Mercury in March 2011 on a year-long mission to map and study the surface. This image was obtained on 13th January 2008, during the January 2008 flyby, when the spacecraft was at a distance of about 760,000 kilometres.

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