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

A Northern Footprint
Click on image to enlarge.
A Northern Footprint
Release Date: October 5, 2011
Topics: Color Images, Mosaics, Smooth Terrain, Volcanism, , XRS

The X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) on MESSENGER collects compositional information for relatively large regions on Mercury's surface, and strong signals are only received during times of high solar activity. The blue region outlined in this wide-angle camera image mosaic shows the region visible to the XRS during a solar flare on 16 April 2011. The XRS data indicates that the area is basaltic in composition, the same type of volcanic rock that comprises the lunar maria. This region is part of the vast, high-reflectance northern plains that cover approximately 6% of Mercury's surface. The 1000, 750, and 430 nm bands of the Wide Angle Camera are displayed in red, green, and blue, respectively.

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 is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of 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.


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL