We’re lucky to have a spacecraft looking at Mercury and sending back information like this. NASA’s MESSENGER satellite just beamed back these images of three craters on the hplanet — Kertesz (top), Dominici (middle) and an unnamed crater (bottom).
Why the interesting appearance? That’s because some of these are color composites representing spectral information gathered by the spacecraft. By examining elements that are a part of the surface, scientists can get a sense of how the planet was formed and what parts of it were made when. For example, the yellow parts of those images are believed to be the youngest parts.
MESSENGER made its first flyby of Mercury in 2008 and entered orbit into the planet, which is the closest to the Sun, in 2011. Its discoveries including finding ice and hot flows amid the pictures of its cratered surface.
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