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MESSENGER Team Delivers First Orbital Data to Planetary Data System

Data collected during MESSENGER’s first two months in orbit around Mercury have been released to the public by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all of NASA’s planetary mission data. Calibrated data from all seven of MESSENGER’s science instruments, plus radio science data from the spacecraft telecommunications system, are included in this release.

"It’s a real milestone for the first data ever obtained from orbit around Mercury to be available now in the PDS," says Nancy Chabot, Instrument Scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS).

"Scientists around the world will use these data to better understand Mercury and the formation and evolution of our solar system as a whole," says Chabot, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. "However, to me, one of the most exciting aspects of this release is that these data now in the PDS are just the first of much more to come. MESSENGER continues to send us new data practically every day!"

The science results from these instruments have already shed light on questions about Mercury that have lingered for more than three decades. Many of these results were highlighted in a June 16 press conference at NASA headquarters.

For instance, says MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph McNutt of APL, "The imaging has highlighted the importance of volcanism in plains formation in the planet’s history, and the geochemical remote sensing instruments are providing new insights into formation scenarios for the planet. Geophysics data are yielding new information on Mercury’s internal structure, and data from the exosphere and magnetosphere instruments are giving us the first continuous view of Mercury’s interaction with its local space environment.

"The availability of these data via PDS will allow scientists around the world to study the data and begin making even more connections and discoveries," McNutt adds. [Learn more about the PDS release] [Learn more about the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)]

 

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    About the MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach website

    In developing this site, educators, scientists, and engineers are working together to bring the exciting science of MESSENGER to everyone. Here you will find a wealth of resources about the planet Mercury and about the MESSENGER mission. If you are a student or teacher make sure you check out the special sections containing educational materials and opportunities.

    The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach Team

    The MESSENGER education and public outreach program is conducted by a dedicated team of individuals and organizations with a long track record in space science education in both formal (classroom) and informal (museum and science center) settings. Read about the partner organizations here and meet the team that makes it all happen here.



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