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The Most Incredible Pictures Of Every Planet In Our Solar System

By Dan Nosowitz
March 25, 2013; 1:49 PM ET


NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Captured with NASA's Messenger spacecraft, this is the most complete view of Mercury ever taken. It was compiled very recently, on February 22nd.



This one's a little bit more dated, dating from 1996 during the Magellan mission, also known as the Venus Radar Mapper. It's been in orbit since 1989, but this shot is one of our favorites of its long trip out to the second planet. The dark spots all over the planet are meteorite impacts, and that big light section right in the center is Ovda Regio, a massive mountain range.



40 years after the famous "Blue Marble" picture showed the world what our planet looks like from afar in gorgeous detail, NASA released this updated version, shot by the Suomi NPP satellite.



For Mars, we're going to reach all the way back to 1980. Recent efforts on Mars have resulted in some of the highest-quality shots ever taken of the Red Planet, but they're mostly from close by or, lately, on the surface. Those are incredible, but we were really looking for a "marble" style picture, and this is one of the most gorgeous we've ever seen. It's a mosaic of images taken by the Viking 1 orbiter. That gash in the middle is Valles Marineris, a massive canyon along the planet's equator that's among the largest in our solar system.

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