PIA16893: A Tribute to MESSENGER: Video
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Product Size: 663 x 612 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA16893.tif (1.218 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA16893.jpg (65.88 kB)

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animation for PIA16893
Click on the image for the animation

This video showcases a small sampling of the thousands of images taken by the spacecraft, as well as animations illustrating how MESSENGER moves in orbit and how its orbit has changed during the mission.

The opening sequence is from the approach images from the first flyby in 2008. The first animation to follow (at 0:15) shows MESSENGER in its primary mission 12-hour orbit. The relevance of the November 9, 2011, date is that this was when the MESSENGER team was advised that NASA had approved the proposal for an extended mission, allowing the mission to continue making new observations from March 2012 to March 2013. The animation at 0:22 gives you an idea of the movement and gyrations ("dancing") that the spacecraft undergoes while it performs a schedule packed full of observations that take place over one Earth day. The animation sequence at 0:59 gives you a "top down" view over Mercury's north pole from when MESSENGER first went into orbit until several months into the extended mission. The apparent size of the orbit shrinks from the start of the animation to the end, as shortly into the extended mission, MESSENGER's orbital period was shrunk from 12-hours to 8-hours. The animation sequence at 1:44 shows MESSENGER's "dance" on the first day of the extended mission. The other images and embedded movies can be found in the Gallery section of the MESSENGER website.

Some highlight images of note include:

At 0:48 - Blue rays of Bek crater
At 0:54 - Basho crater
At 0:57 - Poe crater in Caloris basin
At 1:17 - MASCS instrument surface scans in ultraviolet and infrared
At 1:19 - A perspective view of the northern polar region, color-coded to MLA topography
At 1:27 - Rembrandt impact basin
At 1:29 - Rembrandt impact basin superimposed on the US for size comparison
At 1:34 - Rachmaninoff impact basin, 3D effect crated using the digital elevation model
At 1:34 - Debussy crater
At 1:58 - Beagle rupes
At 2:04 - Mosaic view of north pole, showing the shadowed regions
At 2:06 - As previous, with superimposed radar data indicating likely water-ice deposits
At 2:11 - A volcanic vent near the edge of Caloris basin
At 2:34 - Derain crater
At 2:36 - Disney crater and two unnamed craters that resemble Mickey Mouse
At 2:38 - Basho crater while the Sun is low in the sky
At 2:40 - Basho crater again, but now with the Sun nearly overhead
At 2:45 - Degas crater
At 2:58 - 'Weird terrain' at the Caloris antipode
At 3:03 - Waters crater with the 'blue tongue' of dark impact melt material
At 3:10 - Seuss crater
At 3:13 - Caloris basin
At 3:15 - Pit in Scarlatti crater, with prominent hollows on the pit rim
At 3:17 - Enhanced color of Caloris basin
At 3:22 - A lava channel that had flowed into the Kofi crater
At 3:29 - More detail of Caloris basin floor
At 3:30 - The young, bright-rayed Mena crater
At 3:37 - Central peaks of Eminescu crater, with hollows around the bases of the peaks
At 3:39 - Apollodorus and Pantheon fossae
At 3:41 - The hollows on the floor of Sander crater

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. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a year-long extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.

For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.

Image Credit:
Images and animation stills courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. Music: "Mercury Ridge" by Simon Wilkinson (thebluemask.com). Video creation and time-lapse animations by Mark 'Indy' Kochte.

Image Addition Date:
2013-03-14