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Perspective View of Mercury’s Topography

Friday 1 June 2012

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

Mission: MESSENGER.

Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System.

Shown here is a perspective view of the immense volcanic plains that span Mercury’s northern latitudes, colorized by the topographic height of the surface. The purple colors are the lowest and white is the highest. The total dynamical range of the height variation measured on Mercury is roughly 10 km, which is a smaller range than is found on either the Moon (20 km) or Mars (30 km).

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. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGERʼs science goals.

Université Paris-Sud 11 Faculté des Sciences GEOPS CNRS
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