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Mercury Flyby 1
belleraphon1
post Jan 10 2008, 10:56 PM
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Mercury Ahead indeed.

Really looking forward to this. Since the last flyby in 1975, my two children have grown to adult hood, and I am now a granfather. Hoping the space geek gene jumps a generation to infect my grandsons.

A long time to wait to complete the task of mapping Mercury...

Craig
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Holder of the Tw...
post Jan 10 2008, 11:10 PM
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Those press conference graphics that Emily linked to are pretty impressive. Just about everything you want to know.
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nprev
post Jan 10 2008, 11:15 PM
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Yeah (sigh)...I'm hoping that the spacebug gene skips a generation as well, Craig; if it isn't on "Entertainment Tonight", my daughter could care less.

MESSENGER is a huge milestone; by the time that the mission is completed, we will have mapped all of the classical planets (pre-1781) and their major moons, in our lifetimes. That is nothing short of astonishing, to say nothing of humbling. We're on our way... smile.gif


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Holder of the Tw...
post Jan 10 2008, 11:48 PM
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I've noticed on the animations that some of the NAC images on approach are taken entirely within the night side. What's up with that? Is is possible for them to actually see anything in these? Maybe a bit of light from Venus on that part, but not much else.
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tedstryk
post Jan 10 2008, 11:54 PM
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QUOTE (Holder of the Two Leashes @ Jan 10 2008, 11:48 PM) *
I've noticed on the animations that some of the NAC images on approach are taken entirely within the night side. What's up with that? Is is possible for them to actually see anything in these? Maybe a bit of light from Venus, but not much else.


It may be to give them some margin of error in camera pointing. At such high resolution, a relatively small error (in terms of position) could wreck havoc on a mosaic.

While we were waiting, I figured I would post a link to my new Mariner-10 mosaic I posted in the Mariner-10 thread. I always wondered why Robinson's global mosaic for the receding side used much more distant frames than the approaching side, which is much larger. He did make a high resolution mosaic of this area, but with a lot of gaps and gores. After trying to work with the data myself, I understand why.


http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/4070/ou...hires1f1yt9.jpg


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elakdawalla
post Jan 11 2008, 12:05 AM
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I think also it was easier for them to sequence, and then process, an m-by-n rectangular mosaic than to delete frames here and there from the rectangle; you might notice that in some of the post-flyby mosaics, there are several corner frames that shoot right off the disk into space.

Also, a while back, I asked Louise Prockter why they sequence them typewriter style -- do a row, carriage return, do the next row, carriage return -- rather than a more economical left-to-right then right-to-left back-and-forth sweeping. She said they investigated sequencing the mosaics that way, and it's just simpler for them to process and assemble mosaics built up typewriter-style than back-and-forth style, as it makes the variation among frames more consistent.

--Emily


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JRehling
post Jan 11 2008, 12:16 AM
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[...]
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gcecil
post Jan 11 2008, 01:03 AM
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QUOTE (tedstryk @ Jan 10 2008, 06:54 PM) *
It may be to give them some margin of error in camera pointing. At such high resolution, a relatively small error (in terms of position) could wreck havoc on a mosaic. ...

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/4070/ou...hires1f1yt9.jpg


OR, maybe they might catch a small moon out of shadow? I recall from a DPS poster that there are some quasi-stable phase space, searched telescopically without success but with a high background level of course. You'd think "why not wait for orbit?", except that the illumination is different and most importantly because there are no guarantees orbit will be achieved. Get as much from the flybys as possible, no predicting the future.

Re satellites, I'm especially intrigued about an elongated oval feature evident in the radar images below Caloris, so well placed for this flyby (unfortunately in the Doppler ambiguous region so not included in Phil's MESSENGER radar base map). It is inclined only a bit from the equator. Perhaps a spun-down Phobos-like oblique impact? A long shot, but we'll see soon enough, hopefully.
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nprev
post Jan 11 2008, 01:59 AM
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That would be fascinating, but got my doubts. I'd be much more inclined to believe in possible small moons for Mercury if the planet was truly Sun-synchronous in rotation, but as-is and given the tremendous gravitational influence of the Sun (to say nothing of Mercury's orbital eccentricity) I just don't see it happening due to (however minute) tidal influences.

Would be delighted to be proven wrong, however! smile.gif As I mentioned to another forum member in a private message, each first orbital mission around a planet has uncovered at least one surprise; can hardly wait to see what Mercury has in store for us.


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elakdawalla
post Jan 11 2008, 04:31 AM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Jan 10 2008, 04:16 PM) *
Today's obscure vocabulary word...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boustrophedon

wink.gif

Awesome. I knew there had to be a word for that. Boustrophedon. Now if only there would be more than two people in the audience who would understand it if I wrote it. wink.gif

--Emily


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volcanopele
post Jan 11 2008, 05:30 AM
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Excellent. All future communications from me will now be written in that style.


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stevesliva
post Jan 11 2008, 05:40 AM
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Me
.oot
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peter59
post Jan 11 2008, 05:11 PM
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New image snapped with the Narrow Angle Camera, on January 10, 2008, when MESSENGER was a distance of just less than 2 million kilometers from Mercury.

Mercury - January 10, 2008


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tedstryk
post Jan 11 2008, 05:19 PM
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Here is a new version of the first image. The processing is heavy, so interpret with caution.
Attached thumbnail(s)
Attached Image
 


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Bjorn Jonsson
post Jan 11 2008, 05:20 PM
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Getting closer. Hints of relief/craters visible, especially if you sharpen the image:

Attached Image
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