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MESSENGER orbital mission PDS data
elakdawalla
post Sep 8 2011, 05:47 PM
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MESSENGER has made its first data delivery from the science phase of the mission to the PDS!

Press release: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/news_room/details.php?id=182
Map interface: http://messenger-act.actgate.com/msgr_publ...t_quickmap.html
Links to data directories: http://pds.nasa.gov/tools/subscription_ser...-20110908.shtml

Have at it, guys!


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ugordan
post Sep 8 2011, 06:27 PM
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I must be doing something wrong because I can't find the new MDIS data either at Atlas search or any of the data directories.

Edit: found them here.


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ugordan
post Sep 8 2011, 07:30 PM
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One snapshot, hard to find a good frame when no browse images are available yet. EDC color interpolated through CIE XYZ colorspace and converted to sRGB. Magnified 2x from original pixel scale.
Attached Image


A note that our Moon appears similarly red/brown (somewhat less, though), yet the eye appears to compensate for that and make it grey. To human eyes adapted to Mercury's overall hue the surface would probably look more like this:
Attached Image


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ugordan
post Sep 8 2011, 08:06 PM
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One with a very low sun angle, again 2x:
Attached Image


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OWW
post Sep 8 2011, 08:18 PM
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Great work! Looks like that last one is the same area as this one released earlier:

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ugordan
post Sep 8 2011, 08:32 PM
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Yes, it looked familiar to me, particularly that one crater that stands out. Just my luck to stumble onto the same one out of the hundreds of other images...


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ugordan
post Sep 8 2011, 09:03 PM
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If you orbited high above Mercury, this is what you might see through the window:
Attached Image

This should be a fair representation of actual albedo variations on the surface.


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elakdawalla
post Sep 9 2011, 01:24 PM
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QUOTE (ugordan @ Sep 8 2011, 01:32 PM) *
Yes, it looked familiar to me, particularly that one crater that stands out. Just my luck to stumble onto the same one out of the hundreds of other images...

Of course, theirs isn't in color and saturated at the extremes, and yours isn't (if you can follow my double negative smile.gif) Nice work!


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Phil Stooke
post Sep 9 2011, 01:44 PM
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Another way to use the global map interface - a mosaic of an area at 25 north, 180 longitude on the western edge of Caloris. Irregular pits in the SE corner and on the eastern rims of the two large craters are volcanic vents. The largest ones were interpreted as such from Mariner 10 data, but many more are known now.

Phil

Attached Image


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kwp
post Sep 9 2011, 07:38 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Sep 9 2011, 06:44 AM) *
Irregular pits in the SE corner and on the eastern rims of the two large craters are volcanic vents. The largest ones were interpreted as such from Mariner 10 data, but many more are known now.

If memory serves, a great many features on the Moon were believed to be volcanic vents, but few of these assignments survived the "ground truth" of Apollo. How well established is this hypothesis?
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elakdawalla
post Sep 9 2011, 08:29 PM
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Pretty well. Mercury and the Moon are two very different places, despite their superficial similarities.

Here's one reference: Evidence for Young Volcanism on Mercury from the Third MESSENGER Flyby

QUOTE
During its first two flybys of Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft acquired images confirming that pervasive volcanism occurred early in the planetís history. MESSENGERís third Mercury flyby revealed a 290-kilometer-diameter peak-ring impact basin, among the youngest basins yet seen, having an inner floor filled with spectrally distinct smooth plains. These plains are sparsely cratered, postdate the formation of the basin, apparently formed from material that once flowed across the surface, and are therefore interpreted to be volcanic in origin. An irregular depression surrounded by a halo of bright deposits northeast of the basin marks a candidate explosive volcanic vent larger than any previously identified on Mercury. Volcanism on the planet thus spanned a considerable duration, perhaps extending well into the second half of solar system history.


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Phil Stooke
post Sep 9 2011, 09:35 PM
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Thanks, Emily!

Yes... on the Moon there was a protracted dispute about the origins of the ubiquitous craters - volcanic or impact - very well described in Don Wilhelms' book "To a Rocky Moon". They were almost all impact craters, as logic and field geology eventually proved. There are volcanic craters on the Moon, but they are very minor features in most areas.

Mercury is different - we see all those circular craters and we know they are from impacts. But we also see irregular pits like the ones I illustrated... and the clincher is, they look different in multispectral data as well. Any individual feature might possibly be misidentified, but the basic picture is well established - lots of impact craters, but quite a lot of irregular volcanic depressions as well.

Phil


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Phil Stooke
post Sep 9 2011, 09:43 PM
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This is MESSENGER flyby false color overlaid on an image of this area - see how the orange patches coincide with the pits, including those on the big crater's rim.

Phil

Attached Image


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ngunn
post Sep 9 2011, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE (kwp @ Sep 9 2011, 08:38 PM) *
How well established is this hypothesis?


It's a reasonable question. Lava has flooded large parts of the surface of both worlds, no doubt about that. More (and more recently) on Mercury than the Moon seems likely. Identifying specific craters as volcanic vents, as opposed to peculiar-looking impact craters formed in an already shattered and unpredictable crater rim, must be less secure. Volcanoes don't have to be upstanding features. On Io most of them are pits. On any planet plains can be flooded with lava from below without leaving surface features identifiable as vents. There are a lot of people looking for volcanos everywhere. Keeping up the scepticism isn't a bad thing to do.
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Phil Stooke
post Sep 19 2011, 08:38 PM
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Recent south pole images have filled in the whole polar gap in earlier maps. Here's a new mosaic. Hi Steve! You might like this...

Phil

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