Taken nine minutes after coming within 124 miles of Mercury on January 14, the image below is Mercury’s surface seen from a low viewing angle. This is the first ever seen of this portion of the planet. Note the cratered terrain. Other images appear below. Images are from NASA/Applied Physics Lab at: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/sciencePhotos/view.php?gallery_id=2

MESSENGER’s First Image after Closest Approach

Messenger’s Laser Altimeter readings. A km is .62 miles.

MESSENGER Views Mercury’s Horizon

The above is an image mosaic of the sunlit portion of the planet.

MESSENGER Reveals Mercury’s Geological History

Image above taken shortly after the closest approach on January 14, 2008.

An Overview of Mercury as MESSENGER Approached

The above taken as Messenger neared Mercury on January 14, 2008.

Over 500 mb of data have been received on Earth and is in the processing of being analyzed. More images should be available in the next couple of weeks. These images make excellent desktop background. In Windows XP, just right click on the image and choose the “Set as background” option.