NASA has released a fetching composite colour snap of Mercury, captured by the Messenger spacecraft on its third and final fly-by of the planet prior to orbital insertion in 2011: Messenger's composite colour view of Mercury. Pic: NASA The agency explains that the photograph was obtained by Messenger's Wide Angle Camera using …
"The agency explains that the photograph was obtained by Messenger's Wide Angle Camera using three separate images captured through 1000, 700, and 430 nanometre filters - "infrared, far red, and violet, respectively" ... "placed in the red, green, and blue channels, respectively"."
So it's not actually a true colour snap is it? That would involve capturing the visible spectrum pretty much as seen by the naked eye. This OTOH involves mapping other wavelengths onto the RGB channels and calling it a colour snap.
It is however technically impressive, especially when you consider that a few short decades ago photographs from space involved retrieving a roll of film from a satellite. Now if only I could see how the fuck they think they can justify the expenditure.
again no polar regions mapped
what's going on here? just like when the earth surface was mapped recently, every inch Excluding 2 small polar regions. the reason given was that these areas were 'uninteresting'. what nonsense.
and just like with the earth mapping incident, i contend that something is being hidden from us by purposefully omitting to map (or show us) these small remaining polar regions.
now i think that mercury is also a hollow planet with holes through it at the poles, just like earth, and this is what is being hidden from us.
Is it just me or
Does this not look like a picture of a ball of rock in space?
Wouldn't taking a picture of a ball of rock and then sticking that on a picture of some space cost a lot less and look the same?
Anyway, Mercury is silver and liquid, so they took a photo of the wrong planet anyway, idiots
The expenditure is a lot easier to justify than the multiple times this that are spent on invading other countries (Iraq, Afganistan, Vietnam....)
But for starters, how about the weather forecasting that is only available because of spacecraft like Envisat? Or spacecraft that can tell the best time to harvest crops for maximum yeald? Or spacecraft to measure the level of water in the soil and salinity of the oceans (SMOS) that can improve weather forecasting, help further with crops and help model and predict things like El Niño?
Perhaps also looking at the other planets orbiting the sun, we may be able to understand more about the one we live on...
Waste of time.
It's look just the same in Black and White
It doesn't look very colourful to me, more a sort of grey ball with pockmarks.
Maybe they forgot to click on something
Commentards are at it again...
WW2 and the Cold War were the main drivers of technology of their times.
Nowadays we have (natural, in my opinion) climate change and the exploration of our star system by un-manned probes, amongst others.
It's not a waste of money, it drives the development of the tech that you tardy whitless wonders will be frapping like mad over when Apple release the iPhone 49Gs.
Well despite what most of the other commentards
have said, I'm impressed. It is expensive to send probes out into the solar system, but it's worth it. You don't know it's boring until you send a probe there. It could have been full of topless sunbathing lovelies for all you know.* Or cybermen. Or are they all hiding at the poles?
*With factor 10000 sunblock on, safety first.
Next step, Google Mars!
Send in the rovers with the big cameras on top and cue privicy complaints from little green men!
I'm pretty sure Google has already driven it's silver vans* around Mercury and put all the images up on Google Crater-view [TM] (beta)
* all the better to reflect the sun's intense heat.
@AC 4th November 2009 10:50 GMT
If you look at any of the color images from spacecraft or rovers such as Cassini or MER, the accompanying press-release captions will _specificially_state_ that the fotos are _approximate_ true-color and specifying which filters are used to build the image.
Still, given that, you've got to admit that they come pretty goddamn' close, especially the MER rover fotos.
The issue with the lack of polar images is largely to do with the trajectory the spacecraft take on flyby manuvers such as the latest MESSENGER flyby; once they arrive in permanent orbit, they'll be in a better position to photograph the polar regions. (Jayzus, man, read the goddamn' articles, already; better yet, just go to nasa.gov and get all the details, perhaps take a chance and learn a little bit about celestial mechanics.)
@BristolBachelor: amen to that, pal. You don't hear a whole lot of people -- or a whole lot of Americans, at least -- complaining about the massive buttloads of cash thrown away on wars of aggression in Iraq or Afghanistan, or bailing out bankers and stock-brokerage houses, but Dog forbid we spend any money on healthcare, or education, or science, or expanding humanity's reach into the Universe. Nahh, that'd be a waste. No wonder this goddamn' country's going down the toilet.
For the love of Odin ...
The US has spent the equivalent of the UK GDP per recipient to get rid of poverty, and it hasn't worked. The most expensive government programs have been The New Deal and The Great Society. At least when we pay the military to kill people, they do it.
Now, if only they could do it to people who deserve it, like the IRS.
The Truth Is Out There
I spy no soup dragon but it sure looks like the kind of place that the Clangers might want to populate.
Anyway, how come El Reg hasn't got an icon for Gordon Brown yet? Surely we should be able to celebrate the man who saved the world from financial catastrophe!
If there were people on other worlds...
...I guarantee there would be huge budgets allocated for getting over there and subjugating them in the name of propping up our unsustainable last-century economic systems.
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