March 07, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Watch space weathering
happen! The recent solar storm
had a dramatic effect on MESSENGER images of Mercury. In the image above, you can see bright streaks and speckles, with Mercury's surface faintly visible behind them. These streaks are energetic particles from the Sun hitting the camera's CCD. While great for illustrating the powerful solar event, images acquired during this period will have to be replanned for later in the mission.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation
are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.