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MESSENGER Mission News
January 29, 2008
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

MESSENGER's Departing Shots
After MESSENGER completed its successful flyby of Mercury, the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), took images of the receding planet. Beginning on January 14, 2008, about 100 minutes after MESSENGER’s closest pass by the surface of Mercury, until January 15, 2008, about 19 hours later, the NAC acquired one image every four minutes. In all, 288 images were snapped during this sequence; shown here are just 12 of those departing shots.

The top left image was taken when MESSENGER was about 34,000 kilometers (21,000 miles) from Mercury, and the bottom right image was snapped from a distance of about 400,000 kilometers (250,000 miles).

This large set of departing NAC images has been assembled into a movie, which will be shown tomorrow during a NASA press conference at 1 p.m. EST. The briefing will take place in the NASA Headquarters’ James E. Webb Auditorium, 300 E Street, S.W., Washington, and will be carried live on NASA Television.

On hand to talk about major findings from MESSENGER’s historic flyby will be:
  • James Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington

  • Sean Solomon, MESSENGER principal investigator; director, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington

  • Maria Zuber, MESSENGER science team member; head, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

  • Robert Strom, MESSENGER science team member; professor emeritus, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson

  • Louise Prockter, instrument scientist for the Mercury Dual Imaging System, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

Materials from the press conference will be available by 1 p.m. January 30, 2008, on the MESSENGER Web Site News Center at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/index.html, in the lower left-hand corner of that page. Under “Press Conferences,” click on the date of the event to access.


Additional information and features from MESSENGER’s first flyby of Mercury are online at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/mer_flyby1.html.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery -class mission for NASA.

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