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MESSENGER Press Conference Multimedia Page

Presenter #1
Marilyn Lindstrom, MESSENGER Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Image 1.1

MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera (WAC), part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), is equipped with 11 narrow-band color filters. As the spacecraft receded from Mercury after making its closest approach on January 14, 2008, the WAC recorded a 3x3 mosaic covering part of the planet not previously seen by spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Presenter #2
Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator
Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image 2.1

Trajectory of the first MESSENGER flyby of Mercury viewed from above Mercury's north pole. The spacecraft traveled from left to right. Shown are the time the spacecraft was in eclipse, the position of the terminator during the flyby, the hemisphere of Mercury previously imaged by Mariner 10, and the point of closest approach.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Image 2.2

A scarp, or cliff, on Mercury that has been embayed (lower set of thick white arrows) by smooth plains material, interpreted to consist of volcanic flows. Low-relief ridges in the plains just outward of the scarp face may be evidence of continued movement, after plains emplacement, on the thrust fault that underlies the scarp. In the upper left (upper set of thin white arrows), a scarp cuts across both intercrater plains (topmost arrow) and smooth plains that filled the floor of a ~120-km-diameter impact crater. An undeformed crater sitting atop this scarp (black arrow) formed after fault activity ceased. This mosaic is centered near 10�S, 110�E, using images acquired on departure from closest approach.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Image 2.3

Three examples of craters substantially deformed by a lobate scarp. In each case, portions of the crater floor and rim have been buried by overthrusted material. (A) The northern segment of Beagle Rupes has crosscut a ~17-km-diameter impact crater (centered near 0.3°N, 101°E, arrows) on intercrater plains. (B) The northeast-southwest-trending segment of a lobate scarp has cut a ~5-km-diameter impact crater (centered near 7.9°S, 108.2°E, see inset) located near the rim of a larger degraded impact crater that was flooded by smooth plains and subsequently deformed by wrinkle ridges. (C) A northwest-southeast trending lobate scarp has deformed an ~11-km-diameter crater (centered near 16.5°S, 133°E) on intercrater plains.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Presenter #3
James W. Head III, MESSENGER Co-Investigator
Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Image 3.1

Central kidney-shaped depression superposed on a broad, smooth dome or shield-like feature interpreted to be a volcano. Bright halo surrounding the kidney-shaped depression is interpreted to be an explosive volcanic eruption deposit. This feature is distinct in color images from its surroundings and represents compelling evidence for volcanism on Mercury. MESSENGER MDIS image.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Image 3.2

Sketch map showing the main features in figure 3.1. The location of this feature is just inside the Caloris impact basin rim (marked in black).

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Image 3.3

Color image of the Caloris basin and adjacent regions. Orange hues just inside the Caloris basin rim mark the locations of the kidney-shaped depression and related features. The craters on the floor of the basin show several different colors on their rims, indicating different depths of excavation, and some have been embayed, suggesting post-impact volcanic activity. Statistical methods were used to isolate and enhance subtle color differences using data from the multi-band multispectral images obtained by the MDIS (Mercury Dual Imaging System) instrument.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Presenter #4
William McClintock, MESSENGER Co-Investigator
Senior Research Associate, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder

Image 4.1

Illustration of primary source and loss processes that generate and maintain Mercury's exosphere.

Credit: University of Colorado

Image 4.2

Observations of Mercury's extended neutral sodium tail during MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby.

Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Image 4.3

Illustration of the likely source of the asymmetries observed in Mercury's exosphere.

Credit: University of Colorado

Presenter #5
Thomas H. Zurbuchen, MESSENGER Science Team Member
Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Image 5.1

The Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) sensor on MESSENGER's Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) instrument. Shown are the electronics box, the electrostatic analyzer (ESA), and the time-of-flight (TOF) unit.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/University of Michigan

Image 5.2

FIPS placement on the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Image 5.3

MESSENGER flies through Mercury's magnetosphere. This animation shows a conceptual sketch of Mercury's magnetosphere at the time of the MESSENGER flyby. The graphs at the bottom show observations made by the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) portion of the Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) instrument as the spacecraft followed the indicated trajectory. The top plot depicts the low-energy plasma of solar wind origin, and the bottom plot shows heavy ion intensities associated with the planet. This flyby was the first survey of the ion plasma of Mercury's space environment. The positions at which the spacecraft first crossed the "bow shock" of the magnetospheric interaction with the solar wind, passed closest to the planet, and crossed the outbound bow-shock are indicated.

Credit: NASA/University of Michigan/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image 5.4

Counts from the FIPS sensor per mass/charge bin accumulated during the ~30 minute flyby through Mercury's magnetosphere on 14 January 2008. Key species are identified as peaks and also labeled according to their most likely interpretation. The measurements include a surprise detection of water-group ions.

Credit: University of Michigan


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