MLA coverage (left) of Mercury as May 21, 2011, shown as a polar orthographic projection extending to the equator. The altimetric profile (obtained on April 30, 2011) for the MLA track highlighted on the left is shown in detail on the right. The length of this profile is about 6000 km (or about 3700 miles).
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing.
Date Presented: May 24, 2011, in a MESSENGER Science Highlight article.
Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
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.