Science and Exploration

Enhanced Color Mercury Map

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 19, 2013
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Enhanced Color Mercury Map
Enhanced Color Mercury Map
NASA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington

This colorful view of Mercury was produced by using images from the color base map imaging campaign during MESSENGER’s primary mission.
These colors are not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but rather the colors enhance the chemical, mineralogical, and physical differences between the rocks that make up Mercury’s surface. This specific color combination places the second principle component in the red channel, the first principle component in the green channel, and the ratio of the 430 nm/1000 nm filters in the blue channel.

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 first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

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