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Earth from MESSENGER
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Earth from MESSENGER

August 27, 2005

MESSENGER's Earth flyby on Aug. 2, 2005, not only adjusted the spacecraft's path to Mercury - the gravity assist maneuver allowed the spacecraft team to test several MESSENGER science instruments by observing its home planet.

The Mercury Dual Imaging System's wide-angle camera passed with flying colors - several of them, actually - snapping a number of images across its full multispectral capability. The camera is designed to characterize minerals that may have formed in Mercury's crust.

The spacecraft was 63,950 miles (102,918 kilometers) above Earth when this image was taken.