Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The new pic is released

Well, here they come!!

Images and data is falling from the sky! This data is traveling 43 million miles in 5min! Check out the clarity and objects that have been revealed.

The spacecraft is flying past the planet at incredible speeds. In fact on October 15th because of the gravitational pull of the sun, this little spacecraft will be the 2nd fastest spacecraft in history and traveling at 148, 000 miles per hour relative to the sun. Right now it is traveling at 7mph relative to Mercury. Now keep in mind.. Mercury is traveling very quickly around the sun and when we talk about speed, it is relative to an object.
Remember middle school physics... speed is relative to a location? To jog your memory... you are sitting on a bus, the bus is traveling 40mph. How fast are you going??? Well relative to the bus, your speed is 0. Your speed relative to the ground you are traveling 40mph.
Now lets talk about the new image. Why is Mercury grey? What do you think those brighter lines/rays show us? Why are some craters brighter than others? How about those longitudinal lines..what are they? These are all questions being discussed at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Stay tuned for the science update this afternoon