Source: MESSENGER Mission
Image credit: NASA/MESSENGER
Seven years ago, on August 3, 2004, MESSENGER left Earth aboard a three-stage Boeing Delta II rocket to begin a journey that would take it more than 15 laps through the solar system, through six planetary flybys, and ultimately into orbit around Mercury. The spacecraft has travelled 5.247 billion miles (8.445 billion kilometers) relative to the Sun, and the team is one-third of the way through the one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. (read more)
To watch an animation of the Sun rise and set on Mercury, go online to http://messenger-education.org/Interactives/ANIMATIONS/Day_On_Mercury/day_on_mercury.php.