I’m very excited by the flyby of NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft past Mercury which happened a couple of days ago. The first of three flybys by this, the first spacecraft to visit the innermost planet for more than thirty years, should have included our first look at one of the few major parts of the solar system not yet seen close up. MESSENGER’s predecessor, Mariner 10, only got a look at about 44% of Mercury’s surface.
However, Emily at the Planetary Society reports that the waiting will go on a little longer due to problems with another spacecraft taking priority on the large antenna needed to receive the data. In the meantime, over at Wandering Space there’s an excellent newly processed colour image from that Mariner 10 flyby.