The First Full Hypercolor Map Of Mercury Is Stunning [GIF]

NASA just released this incredible hypercolor map of Mercury, the first full map of the planet:

mercury map cassiniMercury map

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. NASA’s Messenger probe flew by the planet on it’s way through the solar system. An earlier shot of the planet was released on March 6, but it wasn’t hypercolored.

From the description:

On March 18, 2011, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft entered orbit around Mercury, becoming the first spacecraft ever to do so. Among the many instruments on this pioneering probe is a wide-angle camera capable of generating high-resolution images of the planet’s surface.

By stitching thousands of these images together, scientists created the first complete map of Mercury. The result isn’t just a pretty picture. The map’s enhanced colours, produced by special filters fitted on the camera, tell a story about the chemical, mineralogical and geological history of the innermost planet in our solar system.

Young craters, for example, appear light blue or white. Tan regions mark plains formed by lava flows. Dark blue represents areas rich in a dark mineral. Watch the visualisation for a tour of this colourful new view of Mercury.

NASA also created a video, but the music is distracting, so we made a GIF:

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.