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The MESSENGER assembly team met another milestone this week: final installation of the Mercury Dual Imaging System, known as MDIS. A time-lapse movie from August 22 (large or small versions) captures the team's work.

In the above image, engineers' feet can be seen under the Launch Vehicle Adapter (see May 1 image) where the MDIS is being installed. Since MDIS is snuggled up inside the adapter (with three other instruments), it is nearly impossible to see it without walking right up to the spacecraft. This "hidden" position will cut down on the glare from the Sun and Mercury, keeping the images as sharp and clear as possible.

MDIS actually consists of two cameras. The wide-angle camera has a 10.5° field of view and can image Mercury through 12 different filters across the wavelength range of 400 to 1,100 nanometers (visible and near-infrared light). Multispectral imaging will help scientists investigate the diversity of rock types that compose Mercury's surface. MESSENGER is also equipped with a narrow-angle camera that can take black-and-white images at 7 times higher resolution (1.5° field of view) to allow an extremely detailed analysis of surface features on Mercury.

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Last updated: August 28, 2003

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