March 29, 2011; April 30, 2015
Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
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The rayed crater Debussy
has a diameter of 80 kilometers (50 miles)
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This image is about 1 kilometers (0.6 miles) across
On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER made history by becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury. Eleven days later, the spacecraft captured the first image ever obtained from Mercury orbit
, shown here on the left.
Originally planned as a one-year orbital mission, the MESSENGER spacecraft orbited Mercury for more than four years, accomplishing technological firsts
and making new scientific discoveries about the origin and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Check out the Top 10 Science Results
On April 30, 2015, MESSENGER again made history, becoming the first spacecraft to impact the planet. In total, MESSENGER acquired and returned to Earth more than 277,000 images from orbit about Mercury. The last of those images
is shown here on the right.
As the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER revolutionized our understanding of the Solar System's innermost planet. View image highlights from the MESSENGER mission in this image collection
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.