Movie of Mercury's South Pole

Status Report From: NASA MESSENGER
Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2012

Presented at: A press conference held at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, Texas, USA. In total, MESSENGER team members are presenting 57 papers at this conference. Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Scale: The large crater near Mercury's south pole, Chao Meng-Fu, has a diameter of 180 km Map Information: The movie is shown in polar stereographic projection, extending northward to 73°S, and 0° longitude is at the top

Of Interest: This movie shows 89 WAC images of Mercury's south polar region acquired over one complete Mercury solar day (176 Earth days) in 2011. This dataset enabled the illumination conditions at Mercury's south polar region to be quantified.

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 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 MESSENGER's science goals.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. Larger image and movie

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