Mass: 8.0 kilograms (17.6 pounds)
Power: 7.6 watts
Development: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
The multi-spectral MDIS has wide- and narrow-angle cameras (the “WAC” and “NAC,” respectively) – both based on charge-coupled devices (CCDs), similar to those found in digital cameras – to map the rugged landforms and spectral variations on Mercury’s surface in monochrome, color, and stereo. The imager pivots, giving it the ability to capture images from a wide area without having to re-point the spacecraft and allowing it to follow the stars and other optical navigation guides.
The wide-angle camera has a 10.5° by 10.5° field of view and can observe Mercury through 11 different filters and monochrome across the wavelength range 395 to 1,040 nanometers (visible through near-infrared light). Multi-spectral imaging will help scientists investigate the diversity of rock types that form Mercury’s surface. The narrow-angle camera can take black-and-white images at high resolution through its 1.5° by 1.5° field of view, allowing extremely detailed analysis of features as small as 18 meters (about 60 feet) across.
For additional information about and examples of MDIS images, visit these pages: