Friday, March 18, 2011
At long last, MESSENGER is now just about ready to enter orbit around Mercury. Assuming everything goes as planned, apparently the first images will be taken on the 29th. Not quite as exciting as the never-before seen Vesta (Dawn is now just 3.1 million km away, less than 10 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon) but there's still a lot of unimaged space on Mercury and we have never had a probe in orbit around the planet so it's a very welcome development. Keep an eye out for the first images when they are released.