The Messenger spacecraft has now been in orbit around Mercury since the end of March, almost four months. During that time the probe has sent back many fascinating images, showcasing a hot, alien planet whose surface was formed by impacts, volcanic activity, and some processes that no one as yet understands.
Most of the released images, however, have been in black and white, which at first glance makes one think that Mercury is not unlike the Moon. This week the Messenger team released a color image, demonstrated clearly how false this assumption is. The image below shows two very different craters, a dark-haloed crater named Basho at the bottom left of the image, and a very bright crater, Kalidasa crater, near the top left. On the right of the image is a dark haloed Tolstoj basin. For an uncropped full resolution version go here.