These images were taken by MESSENGER as the spacecraft departed Mercury after completing its second flyby on October 6, 2008. During this sequence, images were taken every five minutes. A portion of the same sequence, totaling 198 images in all, has also been made into a movie (PIA11412). MESSENGER will make its third and final flyby of Mercury on September 29, 2009, and will become the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury in March 2011.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131788060-131840260
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Scale: Mercury’s diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 95,000-370,000 kilometers (59,000-230,000 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.