A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
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The gallery contains a wide variety of images, photos, animations, and movies about all aspects of the mission. New materials are added regularly as the mission progresses. For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.

View the Orbits and Locations of Mercury and Comets Encke and ISON during MESSENGER's Comet Observation Campaign
This animation shows an oblique sunward view from north of the orbit of Mercury. In the animation, the MESSENGER spacecraft orbits Mercury once every eight hours, and portions of the orbits of comets Encke and 2012 S1 (ISON) may be seen. Access lines connect an image of comet Encke, used with permission from United Kingdom's Damian Peach, and/or a representation of comet ISON, to the location of the MESSENGER spacecraft whenever MESSENGER is in a portion of an orbit during which observations of one of the two comets are planned. The colored text indicates the frequency of observations and the distances in AU (1 astronomical unit equals the average distance between Earth and the Sun) from each comet to the Sun and to the MESSENGER spacecraft.

the Orbits and Locations of Mercury and Comets Encke and ISON during MESSENGER's Comet Observation Campaign
  Images and Movies from the Mission

Browse through science images from the MESSENGER mission using this searchable gallery.


Download global mosaics of Mercury's surface. Available mosaics include one created prior to MESSENGER's orbital operations, high-resolution versions that use MESSENGER's orbital images that are available in NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS), and versions that show Mercury's topography as derived by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA).


Explore the surface of Mercury, investigate named craters and other features, see featured MESSENGER images, and take guided tours of the latest Mercury research in the Google Earth interface.


Visit NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS) to access all of MESSENGER's publically released images and data from the mission's full suite of scientific instruments.


Watch movies acquired by the MESSENGER mission during its planetary encounters. Also watch the many preparations involved as the MESSENGER spacecraft was readied for its journey and then launched successfully from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 3, 2004.


Watch animations of MESSENGER's path through the inner Solar System, including views of the flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury, and of the spacecraft once it enters into orbit around Mercury.


Use the Flyby Visualization Tool to see simulated views of the instrument observations and actual returned images from MESSENGER's flybys of Mercury.

Artists' Impressions

View artwork depicting Mercury and the MESSENGER mission. Also, read poems inspired by MESSENGER's historic journey.


Check out photos of the spacecraft as it was tested, loaded for transport, prepared for launch, and finally blasted off, on its way to the inner Solar System and Mercury orbit.

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