A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
NASA logo carnegie institution logo JHU APL logo

Why Mercury?
The Mission
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
Related Links

Download iPhone/iPad app Explore orbital data with quickmap Question and Answer End of Orbit Insertion Where is MESSENGER? Where is Mercury now? Subscribe to MESSENGER eNews

What a Scan!
Click on image to enlarge.
What a Scan!
Release Date: August 8, 2014
Topics: Lermontov, MASCS, Movies,


Date Observed: August 8, 2013
Date Created: July 29, 2014
Instruments: Visible and Infrared Spectrograph (VIRS) of the Mercury Atmosphere and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) and Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
VIRS Color Composite Wavelengths: 575 nm as red, 415 nm/750 nm as green, 310 nm/390 nm as blue
Initial Latitude of Scan: 14.0°
Initial Longitude of Scan: 310.8° E
Final Latitude of Scan: 17.8°
Final Longitude of Scan: 310.0° E
Resolution: 0.25 km/pixel
Scale: Lermontov is 166 km (103 mi.) in diameter

Of Interest: Today's video is a MASCS VIRS raster scan of Lermontov in Mercury's mid latitudes. Raster scans return a large number of spectra for targeted areas of interest. This movie was created from 258 VIRS spectra, taken 1 to 5 seconds apart. The VIRS color composite has been overlain on an MDIS image of Lermontov, showing that the crater center is red and thus brighter at longer wavelengths compared to the average Mercury terrain.

The VIRS composite shows hundreds of individual footprints tracks (minimum 100-200 m across and 3-4 km long) taken from different directions and altitudes. In locations where multiple footprints cover the same area, the footprint with the best illumination for mineralogical interpretation (usually the lowest incidence angle where shadows are minimized) is used for making the map.

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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

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.

« Prev  Next » 

   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL