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Tópico em 'Astronomia' iniciado por Luis França 31 Jan 2008 às 12:08.
Messenger probe shows off side of Mercury never seen before
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The first pictures from the unseen side of Mercury reveal the wrinkles of a shrinking, aging planet with scars from volcanic eruptions and a birthmark shaped like a spider.
Some of the 1,213 photos taken by NASA's Messenger probe and unveiled Wednesday help support the case that ancient volcanoes dot Mercury and that it is shrinking as it gets older, forming wrinkle-like ridges. But other images are surprising and puzzling.
The spidery shape captured in a photo is "unlike anything we've seen anywhere in the solar system," said mission chief scientist Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The image shows what looks like a large crater with faint lines radiating out from it.
Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has often been compared to Earth's dull black-and-white moon. But the new photos, which reveal parts of Mercury never seen, show the tiny planet is more colorful and once had volcanic activity.
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