This false color picture of Mercury was created by combining many images taken by the probe Mariner 10 when it first flew past Mercury in March, 1974. Mercury's surface looks somewhat like the Moon, with smooth lava plains (called maria on the Moon) and cratered highlands. However, the contrast between the plains and highlands is less dramatic on Mercury: the plains are not as dark as on the Moon and have more craters.
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC.
The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman