A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet
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Where is Mercury Now

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MESSENGER Recognized as "Best of What’s New" in Aviation and Space by Popular Science
"The MESSENGER team is honored to receive this recognition from Popular Science," says Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "The intensive exploration of the Sun’s nearest planet has been an exhilarating adventure that we are delighted to share with the global public." Read what Popular Science had to say about MESSENGER [HERE].
mdis footprint on surface of mercury

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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