Mercury. MESSENGER image of the surface of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. The two largest craters are named Polygnotus (top centre) and Boethius (upper left). The Polygnotus crater is 133 kilometres across. 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 it down, the spacecraft will enter orbit around Mercury in March 2011. It will then start a year-long mission to map and study the surface. This image was obtained during MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury in October 2008.
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