Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Planet Mercury

I have always been fascinated with Planets since when I first saw Star Trek. I've always wondered what kind of wonderful life lived out there, their shapes and appearance and how they lived. That is until I saw Alien .. then I got to wondering if some of them were going to be parasites. Of course I was quite young then. Today I still believe life is out there, abet they may be in the form of bacterias or microbes, but they're still life.

So when new images of the Planet Mercury were released by NASA, I sort of gazed at the images, looking at the molten rock planet wondering what kind of minerals it has that we can use. Well, I am grown up now, and studying a planet falls into 2 categories for me - whether it can sustain life, or if we can mine it. It always has been a fantasy of mine to use other planet's resources to build a fleet of starships to explore the galaxy.

Mercury happens to be the planet nearest to the sun, so you can bet anything that lands there becomes toasted and then liquefied. Its that hot. This makes the images even more valuable since we don't get to see a planet's surface that's too close to the sun everyday.

After a six year journey, NASA's Mercury probe successfully orbited the planet and took these images, some of which never seen before seen. The images were taken at various heights..

For decades our solar system's innermost planet had been something of a mystery, since only one mission—Mariner 10—had taken closeup pictures of the tiny world in visible light. During a series of flybys in the 1970s, Mariner 10 captured less than half of Mercury's surface.

But in 2008 the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) craft made its initial approach to the planet, snapping some of the first pictures of regions of Mercury not seen before by human eyes. The craft conducted three flybys of the planet before settling into Mercury's orbit on March 17.

To the naked eye, all you'd probably see are craters and strange terrain formations. I see ... a potential planetary diorama .. well, I am a scale modeler. Hope you found the above images educational as well as inspiring like I did.

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