The US space probe MESSENGER’s third and final fly-by of the planet Mercury in September revealed an almost complete view of the solar system’s smallest planet, leaving only the polar regions to be surveyed, NASA said.

Flying at a low altitude, the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) probe’s cameras have now mapped some 98 percent of Mercury’s surface, and will complete the job after settling into permanent orbit in 2011.

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