Comparison of Mariner 10 and MESSENGER images of Goethe crater (383 km in diameter) in the northern plains of Mercury. The MESSENGER image labeled b on the right is at 200 m/pixel and shows the region within box b in the Mariner 10 image on the left. A portion of a targeted area (box c) imaged by MESSENGER at 12 m/pixel is shown in the inset labeled c. Mariner 10 was not able to obtain these types of high-resolution images.
Date Presented: June 7, 2011, in a MESSENGER Science Highlight article.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
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.