PIA14078: First Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) Results from Orbit

First Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) Results from Orbit


This figure shows altimetric profiles obtained on 29 March during the first two successive MESSENGER orbits on which the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) instrument was operating. Elevation is indicated by both the vertical scale and the color coding. The profile for the second orbit has been offset by 3 km for clarity. The profiles cross a variety of terrains, including a number of impact craters.

Date Acquired: March 29, 2011
Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)

Background Info:

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 .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury
System Mercury
Target Type Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
Extra Keywords Color, Crater, Radio
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2011-03-30
Date in Caption 2011-03-29
Image Credit NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/MIT/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14078
Identifier PIA14078