PIA19285: Gravity Anomalies

Gravity Anomalies


Analysis of radio tracking data have enabled maps of the gravity field of Mercury to be derived. In this image, overlain on a mosaic obtained by MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System and illuminated with a shape model determined from stereo-photoclinometry, Mercury's gravity anomalies are depicted in colors. Red tones indicate mass concentrations, centered on the Caloris basin (center) and the Sobkou region (right limb). Such large-scale gravitational anomalies are signatures of subsurface structure and evolution. The north pole is near the top of the sunlit area in this view.

Background Info:

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. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end , as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury in April 2015.

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

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury
Target Type Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Color, Impact, Radio
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-04-15
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Science Visualization Studio/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19285
Identifier PIA19285