Mercury – More Colorful planet Than We Ever Thought.
(Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)
We all know of the planet Mercury being most well known for
its position closest to the sun. Mercury speeds around
the sun at only 88 times a year making it the fastest
planet in our solar system by 31 miles per second. It gets as close
as 29 million miles away from the sun and can reach
temps of upward 800 fahrenheit.
What we didn’t know until recent was its true colors,
literally. Mercury was always the gray planet closest
to the sun. Our universe explorers NASA have a
satellite in orbit called Messenger. it is
equipt with a multi filtered camera system that allows
itself to isolate color variations and combine them for
incredible photographs. It can actually
perform mineralogical studies from orbit! In the
pictures below you can see how Messenger’s pictures
differentiate rock types and colors.
The yellowish color indicates a younger surface while the blueish color is a more aged surface. The younger surface is obvious
due to its lack of impact scares caused by speeding
space debris. Astronomers wish these color patterns
could be viewed by the bare eye, unfortunately they
can only be viewed this way through
the Messenger’s camera technologies.
The Messenger was moving at such a high rate of
speed that scientists could not decipher the mineral
composition in the images.