PIA19449: From the First to the Last

From the First to the Last


On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER made history by becoming the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury. Eleven days later, the spacecraft captured the first image ever obtained from Mercury orbit , shown here on the left.

Originally planned as a one-year orbital mission, the MESSENGER spacecraft orbited Mercury for more than four years, accomplishing technological firsts and making new scientific discoveries about the origin and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Check out the Top 10 Science Results .

Dates acquired: March 29, 2011; April 30, 2015
Image IDs: 65056, 8422953
Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)

Left Image Center Latitude: -53.3°
Left Image Center Longitude: 13.0° E
Left Image Resolution: 2.7 kilometers/pixel
Left Image Scale: The rayed crater Debussy has a diameter of 80 kilometers (50 miles)

Right Image Center Latitude: 72.0°
Right Image Center Longitude: 223.8° E
Right Image Resolution: 2.1 meters/pixel
Right Image Scale: This image is about 1 kilometers (0.6 miles) across

On April 30, 2015, MESSENGER again made history, becoming the first spacecraft to impact the planet . In total, MESSENGER acquired and returned to Earth more than 277,000 images from orbit about Mercury. The last of those images is shown here on the right.

Background Info:

As the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury, MESSENGER revolutionized our understanding of the Solar System's innermost planet. View image highlights from the MESSENGER mission in this image collection .

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 Crater, Grayscale, Impact
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-04-30
Date in Caption 2011-03-18 2011-03-29, 2015-04-30
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19449
Identifier PIA19449