Presented at: A press conference
held at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, Texas, USA. In total, MESSENGER team members are presenting 57 papers
at this conference.
The Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) ranges at a wavelength of 1064 nm at an 8 Hz rate and illuminates Mercury's surface in spots between 15 and 100 m across, depending on the MESSENGER spacecraft°s range. The MLA has so far returned 10.7 million precise measurements of the elevation of Mercury's northern hemisphere. Shown here is a polar stereographic projection of the topography of Mercury from the north pole to 5° S. The outlines of selected major impact structures are shown as black circles.
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, MDIS 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
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.