Hey Space Bloggers!
Messenger is going to stay in orbit around Mercury for an entire year. We don’t have that long, but we could hang around a couple more days, just to see what Messenger is up to. So far, it’s been taking some pretty detailed pictures with its very cool dual imaging system. Like these, just released yesterday.
But a fancy camera isn’t all Messenger has in its payload. I hear there are six more scientific instruments and a radio science experiment, all built to withstand the extreme conditions on Mercury. Why do we care, you might well ask? I mean, this planet looks pretty bleak, right? Well, NASA scientists are about as curious as cats, and they have lots of questions. Like are those black plains actually hardened lava flows from fiery volcanic eruptions? If so, when was Mercury erupting and why did it stop? (or did it?) And what is that shiny white stuff inside some of the craters? Is it ice or something else?
I have a question about that, too. If there is ice on Mercury, does that mean there could be liquid water somewhere? And if there is water… could there be life? If not now, in the past?
What do you think? What do you want to know about Mercury?