So apparently I missed it, but the Messenger probe entered Mercury’s orbit on March 17th. This image, taken at 5:20am EDT yesterday, is the first image of Mercury, taken from the planet’s orbit. Remarkably enough. A huge number of space probes have swung past Mercury, but none have every stopped there before. Subsequently, the lower part of this image, near Mercury’s south pole, has never been photographed before now. Messenger’s science mission is due to begin on April 4th. It’ll be interesting to see if we learn any more about the Solar System’s tiniest true planet in the near future!
The latest images from Messenger are all posted here, in case you want to check back for more!