NASA recently released an image of Mercury, the solar system’s smallest and closest planet to the Sun, located at an average distance of 36 million miles (58 million km).
Despite its diminutive size, Mercury is known for its incredible speed, zipping along in its orbit at a remarkable pace of nearly 29 miles (47 km) per second, resulting in a Mercury year lasting just 88 Earth days.
To put its size in perspective, Mercury is slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. This captivating view of Mercury was captured by MESSENGER, the pioneering spacecraft that became the first to orbit the planet.
MESSENGER collected color-enhanced maps to help identify and distinguish various chemical, mineralogical, and physical characteristics of the rocks on Mercury’s surface.