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On Target for Mercury Flyby 3 - Two Weeks To Go!
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On Target for Mercury Flyby 3 - Two Weeks To Go!
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Topics: MASCS, Mercury Flyby 3, Mosaics, ,

Date of Mercury Flyby 3: September 29, 2009
Instruments: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS); Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS)
Scale: Mercury's diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles)

Of Interest: Two weeks from today, the MESSENGER spacecraft will pass 228 kilometers (142 miles) above Mercury's surface for the mission's third flyby of the Solar System's innermost planet. The MESSENGER team has been working on the flyby observation plans for months. Three of the highlights for MDIS include:

  • NAC approach mosaic. This mosaic will provide the first close-up images of a portion of Mercury's surface by spacecraft. (That portion of the surface appears as a featureless white strip near the limb of the planet in the top image.)

  • WAC and MASCS targeted observations. Unlike the neatly arranged rows and columns of most MDIS mosaics, for these observations WAC images in 11 color filters will be acquired as MASCS collects high-quality spectral measurements of specific targets of interest. Visit this page to learn more about these targeted observations.

  • NAC departure high-resolution southern hemisphere mosaic. This large 15-column by 13-row mosaic will provide new detail for an area of Mercury's surface in the southern hemisphere and will be complementary to a high-resolution mosaic of the northern hemisphere obtained during Mercury flyby 2

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.

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