Check out our new
(and ever expanding)
set of "sharables" [HERE]!
Press Briefing: Science Results from MESSENGER’s Low-Altitude Campaign
MESSENGER scientists presented new findings from the highest resolution images of Mercury to date at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) on 16 March. Watch the full briefing [HERE].
Name a Crater on Mercury in Honor of your Favorite Artist Contest
Visit the competition website to learn more about how craters on Mercury are named and (at the end of March/early April) who the winners are [HERE].
Water ice on the planet closest to the Sun?!
Explore the data and see for yourself...
- Explore the actual data that led to this surprising conclusion [HERE]!
- Three independent lines of evidence support this conclusion: the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury’s north pole with MESSENGER’s Neutron Spectrometer, the first measurements of the reflectance of Mercury’s polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths with the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury’s north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury’s surface measured by MLA. These findings are presented in three papers published online in Science Express [HERE].
- New! Spooktacular: The Sleepy Hollows of Mercury. Read about one of the latest surprises on Mercury [here] or watch a ScienceCast video [here].
- New! MERCURY SPECIAL REPORT - The MESSENGER spacecraft is revealing new discoveries about the planet closest to our Sun. Listen to the Science Update special podcast here.
- New! Make a mosaic of Mercury! Explore Mercury with this amazing Surface Interactive
- New! Do you have Google Earth? Would you like to explore Mercury on that platform? Try it here! Use these simple instructions.
- New! How did MESSENGER get this far? Learn about the journey to Mercury from the perspective of the team members in these videos.
- New! MESSENGER Education Module: Mission Design was added to the existing MESSENGER Edcuation Modules. This module is intended to provide an overarching framework for discussing exploration in general. Check it out!
- Magnetic tornadoes on Mercury? Learn about this strange phenomenon in this ScienceNews article written "For Kids."
- What is a flyby? What does it do for the spacecraft? Explore the Gravity Asssist Simulator to learn more here!
New and interesting links:
MESSENGER Team Delivers First Orbital Data to Planetary Data System
[Image, right: Is that a Mercury quilt? No, it is footprints of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) on Mercury’ surface.]
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]
Do you tweet?
Follow the MESSENGER mission on Twitter by clicking here or selecting an update, below...
MESSENGER2011 Twitter Updates
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.