We’re sorry to have to be the ones to tell you, but you’re never going to Mercury.
The journey alone would involve hideous amounts of exposure to radiation, and landing on the planet would result in either immediate incineration or an icy death in the atmosphere wastes of… do you get the idea? It’s really horrible there.
Fortunately we have robots (covered in heat-resistant fabric) to do our bidding.
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The Messenger space craft currently in orbit around the closest planet to the Sun has made more than 2,000 trips around its surface, and has now imaged 100% of the planet – through more than 160,000 images.
That means that Nasa finally knows what the entire planet looks like – and was able to produce the amazing video, above, which shows it spinning in space, as if you were really there looking out of a window.
The clip uses false colour to show what the planet roughly looks like to the human eye – though work is ongoing to make that more accurate.
“It’s a huge accomplishment – we’ve gone from having more than half of the planet a complete mystery prior … to a full coverage that will enable a better understanding of the global processes that shaped Mercury’s formation and evolution,” said Brett Denevi of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
“We’ve still only seen just a tiny fraction of the planet at the highest resolution, and we are learning more daily from colour images, reflectance spectra, geochemical measurements, and topographic information.”
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