This is a mosaic of images taken of Mercury taken from 125,000 miles away. The tiny, brightly rayed crater (just below center top) was the first recognizable feature on the planet's surface and was named in memory of astronomer Gerard Kuiper, a Mariner 10 team member.
The Mariner 10 spacecraft was launched in 1974. The spacecraft took images of Venus in February 1974 on the way to three encounters with Mercury in March and September 1974 and March 1975. The spacecraft took more than 7,000 images of Mercury, Venus, the Earth and the Moon during its mission.
The Mariner 10 Mission was managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C.