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This movie shows the MLA profiles acquired between 29 March and 24 May. Elevation along track (relative to a sphere of radius 2,440 km) is shown by the color scale. Note the broad area of generally low elevations in Mercury s north polar region. The total range in elevation measured by MLA to date is more than 9 km. Orthographic projection centered on the north pole; the outmost circle corresponds to Mercury's equator.
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: June 16, 2011, at a NASA press conference
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.