Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NASA Messenger: MASCS and MDIS images of Mercury

The MESSENGER spacecraft has spent its first six months orbiting Mercury (one solar day).

Among its activities, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) obtained over one million spectra of the surface from near one pole to the other and spanning all longitudes.

Seen here are individual MASCS observations mapped over a mosaic of images obtained with MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).

The various colours correspond to measurements of spectral variations, of which the ultraviolet variations may contain clues about iron content and the types of rocks that hold it.

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