Japan Sending Mirrorball to MercuryS

Fresh from the (possible) success of its Hayabusa comet dust hoover, Japan is planning a new space mission—sending a rotating mirrored probe to the currently fashionable planet Mercury.

The mirrored surface of the JAXA craft will help it keep its core temperature down to 140 degrees—which is chilly compared to the 320 degree heat the mirrors will have to withstand—allowing sensitive equipment like, er, cameras and stuff to work out there. The craft also rotates to keep cool, plus rather obviously gains much of its power through solar methods.

Scheduled to launch in 2014, it'll be bringing more joy to fans of photos of gray craters. [Telegraph]

Image Credit: NASA