So Long Venus, Onward to Mercury

Leaving Venus Behind
After its close approach, Messenger's wide-angle camera snapped a series of Venus portraits before it left the cloudy planet behind.
NASA / JHU-APL

Yesterday scientists released the first few images from the Messenger spacecraft's flyby of Venus last week. The spacecraft took more than 600 pictures of the cloud-swathed planet during a 25-hour period during June 5–7.

Astronomers are using the high-resolution pictures of Venus to calibrate Messenger's camera before it visits Mercury on January 18th of next year. Additional data Messenger took during the flyby will be coupled with observations from the European Venus Express spacecraft to reveal more about the planet's atmosphere and its strong greenhouse effect.

Additional pictures and information is available at NASA's Messenger website.

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