Mercury (the messenger of the gods) got its name from the ancient Romans for being the planet that moves faster in our sky. It is the closet planet to our Sun.
It is smaller than some of the moons in Jupiter and Saturn.
Mercury's terrain looks very much like that of our Moon.
It has almost no atmosphere, and a small magnetic field.
Calvin J. Hamilton/NASA/JPL.
These images were taken by the Mariner 10 mission in May 1974.
The originals, excellent background texts, and larger versions of this and many other photographs of our Solar System are available at Views of the Solar System by Calvin J. Hamilton.
In January 14 2008 the NASA MESSENGER probe did its first Mercury flyby. In October 7, 2008 it performed a second Mercury flyby, and a third will be in September 2009. It will enter Mercury's orbit in March 2011 for a one year mission.
For images and data, see MESSENGER Mission (NASA) and MESSENGER Mission (Johns Hopkins University).
Updated: January 20 '98, October 7 '08
Best seen with Netscape Navigator and MS Internet Explorer.
For background text, link to the RGO Leaflets in ARVAL - Mercury
Back: ARVAL Gallery Mercury