A MESSENGER for you.

This past Saturday during the regular meeting of the Riverside Astronomical Society, our guest speaker updated us on the Curiosity Mars rover that he currently works on.  However, I thought it would fun to look closer in and see what was happening with the inner Solar system.  That led me to Messenger.

Messenger has spent the last two years in orbit around Mercury, and is in fact the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury.

 

https://i1.wp.com/messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/images/od270-Mercury-orbits.jpg

Before that, the spacecraft spent a few years making three flybys of Mercury, one flyby of Earth and two flybys of Venus to slow down and achieve orbit.

All of the flybys and orbiting of Mercury has brought scientist the new data about Mercury since the Mariner 10 mission more than 30 years ago.

Messenger has taken over 150,000 images of Mercury and showing for the first time in high resolution, the Sun baked and impact scarred surface.

But not all areas on Mercury appear so harsh.

A high-resolution view of a "silky" surface on Mercury

These smooth walls, floor and upper surfaces on Mercury is the result of widespread layering of fine particles.  These fine particles aren’t caused by an impact from an asteroid or meteor, but from a sight familiar on Earth.  Lava erupting from the interior of the planet.  This is actually the rim of a volcanic vent.

A wider field of view shows the extent of the lava flow.  The area in blue (below) is about 36 km (22 miles) across and is surrounded by the remains of volcanic particles from a pyroclastic eruption.

A wide-angle view of the same depression, captured in July 2012

Messenger will continue to orbit Mercury and continue its mission until at least 2015.  Find out more about the mission here.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +.  If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman

A New Conspiracy Theory!

Yeah! Just when you thought all the good conspiracy theories were taken, here comes a new one.  According to the interweb, NASA is either intentionally blocking out portions of the image below, or there is a non-natural structure on the surface of Mercury.

Unnatural Anomaly Discovered On Mercury?

Can you see it?  Just to the right of Victoria Rupes Cliffs you should be able to an “unnatural” anomaly.  Here’s a close up for you.

Unnatural Anomaly Discovered On Mercury?

The image was taken by U.S. space probe MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging), American automatic interplanetary station (AWS) for the study of Mercury. This image is a portion of the MDIS global mosaic basemap that was acquired during MESSENGER’s first year in orbit.

The theorist point out that nature never creates straight lines. Well, not exactly.  Nature does have a lot of straight lines, especially when discussing light direction and crystalline faces.  Also, slate is a rock that has straight lines due to its crystalline structure.  A monocot plant has veins that form straight and parallel lines.

So, there are straight lines in nature.  Then, the next obvious theory is that the image has been altered.  But if you take a closer look, the little rectangle isn’t really all that regular.  The lower right corner is off square (so to speak).  Most redactions don’t have squiggly lines in them.

So, will any logic apply?  Of course not! It wouldn’t be a good conspiracy theory without basely facts to rely on.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +.  If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman