NASA's Image of Mercury Highlights Differences From Earth's Moon

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An image taken on April 23rd, 2013 depicts Mercury's abundance of basins. Before NASA's MESSENGER mission began, the surface of Mercury was frequently compared to that of the Moon's surface.

NASA missions from recent years have defied previous beliefs concerning the solar system. Mercury is one planet that’s continuously proving scientists wrong.

An image taken on April 23rd, 2013 as part of NASA's MESSENGER mission, depicts the planet’s abundance of basins. The Bach crater can be seen in the newly released photo.

Before the MESSENGER mission began capturing images, the surface of Mercury was frequently compared to the surface of Earth’s moon. However the mission has proven that the two surfaces couldn’t be more different.

Once a week, the Mercury Dual Imaging System snaps photos of the planet, specifically highlighting the southern hemisphere. The visuals provide information about the shape and build on the topography measurements taken by the Mercury Laser Altimeter.

Mercury is positioned in close proximity to the sun, meaning it’s difficult to view from our home planet except during twilight. Scientists previously believed only one side of Mercury faced the sun, but that concept was shattered in 1965 when astronomers discovered that it rotates three times every two orbits.

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