Curated By: HEATHER D’ANGELO
Images and Text: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
DECEMBER 2nd, 2015
The MESSENGER spacecraft approached Venus on June 5, 2008.
This photo of Venus was part of a color sequence taken to help the MESSENGER team calibrate the camera in preparation for the spacecraft’s first flyby of Mercury in January of that year.
The MESSENGER’s Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired images through all of its 11 narrow-band color filters, revealing Venus’ cloud covered surface.
After acquiring hundreds of high-resolution images during close approach to Venus, MESSENGER turned its wide-angle camera back to the planet and acquired a departure sequence. These images provide a spectacular good-bye to the cloud-shrouded planet while also providing valuable data to the camera calibration team.
The first image was taken June 6 at 12:58 UTC (8:58 p.m. EDT on June 5), and the final image on June 7 at 02:18 UTC (10:18 p.m. EDT on June 6).
These images represent the last view of Venus by MESSENGER, but they also point toward the spacecraft’s first encounter with Mercury in January 2008.