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image source: www.nasa.gov

A MESSENGER color observation of Mercury obtained as the spacecraft approached the planet for its third and final flyby on 29 September

2009. The 1000, 700, and 430 nm filters were combined in red, green, and blue to create this color image (approximately 5 km/pixel resolution), the last that will be acquired until MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury in March of 2011. Only 6% of Mercury's surface in this image had not been viewed previously by spacecraft, and most of the measurements made by MESSENGER's other instruments during this flyby were made prior to closest approach. The observations nonetheless revealed fresh surprises.


A MESSENGER color observation of Mercury obtained as the spacecraft approached the planet for its third and final flyby on 29 September 2009. The 1000, 700, and 430 nm filters were combined in red, green, and blue to create this color image (approximately 5 km/pixel resolution), the last that will be acquired until MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury in March of 2011. Only 6% of Mercury's surface in this image had not been viewed previously by spacecraft, and most of the measurements made by MESSENGER's other instruments during this flyby were made prior to closest approach. The observations nonetheless revealed fresh surprises.

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A MESSENGER color observation of Mercury
obtained as the spacecraft approached the planet for its third and final flyby on 29 September 2009. The 1000, 700, and 430 nm filters were combined in red, green, and blue to create this color image (approximately 5 km/pixel resolution), the last that will be acquired until MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury in March of 2011. Only 6% of Mercury's surface in this image had not been viewed previously by spacecraft, and most of the measurements made by MESSENGER's other instruments during this flyby were made prior to closest approach. The observations nonetheless revealed fresh surprises.