What spectacular images of the planet Mercury collected by MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) from 2011 through April 30, 2015 when it ran out of fuel and gravity caused it to impact the planet’s surface.
I know that these colors represent the different types of chemistry found on the planet’s surface, yet, to me they create works of art…transforming Mercury from a seemingly lifeless planet into a vibrant and alive painting with lots of drama, activity and life.
Now for some science-y stuff…
This particular set of images from NASA’s April 27 posting were superimposed with “years of spectrometry data about the chemistry of the planet’s surface, illustrated by different colours, onto black-and-white images built up from thousands of smaller MDIS (Mercury Dual Imaging System) photos.” from BBC Science/Environment article of April 30, 2015
Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), is equipped with 11 narrow-band color filters, in contrast to the two visible-light filters and one ultraviolet filter that were on Mariner 10’s vidicon camera. By combining images taken through different filters in the visible and infrared, the MESSENGER data allow Mercury to be seen in a variety of high-resolution color views not previously possible.
These images prove that even scientists like to color…but rather than with crayons in coloring books, they color with hi-tech equipment on planet surfaces. 🙂