This Isn’t the Moon

It’s Mercury. The MESSENGER spacecraft captured images used to make this video during a flyover of the planet’s north pole on 8 June, 2014. The images were taken once per second while the spacecraft was at altitudes ranging from 115 to 165 km, traveling at a speed of 3.7 km/s relative to the surface. The frame rate has been sped up by a factor of seven for ease of viewing. The images have resolutions ranging from 21 to 45 m/pixel.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSOv0-iWWwQ]

Video Credit: NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Carnegie Institution of Washington

BTW, MESSENGER was launched ten years ago today.

13 thoughts on “This Isn’t the Moon


  1. Readers should keep in mind that, the further inward you go in the solar system, the higher the average velocity of potential impactors. Also, the energy of the impact scales with the square of the velocity, so it’s misleading to only consider the fact that the maximum impact speed on Mercury is “only a couple of times higher” than that on Earth.

    This is just one of the reasons why I wouldn’t choose to live on Mercury. It’s a better spot to be if you like solar power, though. We should consider disassembling Mercury and using its remnants to build a swarm of solar panels that would be in orbit near where Mercury currently orbits the sun.


  2. This series of views illustrates very well, one of the reasons why Earth in situated in a nearly perfect spot in our solar system. Wonderful stuff.


  3. Absolutely magnificent. Am always in awe of what we have been able to view of our solar system like this.


  4. Huh….another “star porn” post. You know….I’ve been meaning to mention something about these vids.

    They’re kinda’ hard to fap too.

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