The year 2008 has been an eventful and historic one for both the MESSENGER mission and Mercury science. When 2008 began, only 45% of Mercury surface had been seen by spacecraft. Then in 2008, the MESSENGER mission flew by Mercury twice, first on January 14 and again on October 6, capturing images of previously unseen terrain. Now, as 2008 comes to its end, imaging coverage of Mercury’s surface is about 90%. The MESSENGER mission still has much to look forward to, with a third Mercury flyby in 2009 and orbiting Mercury beginning in 2011. But for the moment, let’s reflect back on 2008, with the help of 12 MESSENGER images:
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.