November 29, 2012, at a NASA press conference
Wide Angle Camera of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Shown in red are areas of Mercury's north polar region that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. Image coverage, and mapping of shadows, is incomplete near the pole. The polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar
are in yellow, and the background image is the mosaic of MESSENGER images
. This comparison indicates that all of the polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar are located in areas of persistent shadow as documented by MESSENGER images.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation
are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.