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ustrax
Noam Izenberg details for the following hours:

"The data downlink begins around noonish Eastern time US (GMT-5).

It should take several hours for the data to come down from the spacecraft, and then the Ingestion of the data to the Science Operations center - the translation of raw telemetry to files that can be examined and verified for initial scientific use - takes place either late today or early tomorrow morning, depending on how fast the data comes down.

I think, but am not 100% sure - so no promises - that some early images may be available by the end of the day today."

EDITED: Regarding the 30th of January as next release that seems to be not true according to Mark Perry the team "will release at least one image per day for the next ten days, or so."
tedstryk
My contact with the team also suggests that there will be releases in the near future.
Stu
QUOTE (ustrax @ Jan 15 2008, 02:02 PM) *
I think, but am not 100% sure - so no promises - that some early images may be available by the end of the day today."

EDITED: Regarding the 30th of January as next release that seems to be not true according to Mark Perry the team "will release at least one image per day for the next ten days, or so."


That's great news, I'll look forward to those! And it means at least I'll get to see some images before we head off on our hols on Sat (Cyprus... Paphos to be precise... any UMSFers there? Recommendations for restaurants? wink.gif )
um3k
QUOTE (ustrax @ Jan 15 2008, 07:38 AM) *
Just grab me! I'm delirating! tongue.gif


I bet they have abysses, as well! tongue.gif
tasp
Any sign of geysers of molten lead visible on the limb??

Perhaps evidence of a liquid metal 'aquifer' under the surface of mercury ??


{just kidding, btw}
mgrodzki
as phil says above… if there are no stable orbits around mercury, then there can be no moons. besides, wouldn’t someone have seen them by now? if they can detect tiny moons about pluto, wouldn’t they have detected tiny ones as close as mercury (even with the solar imaging issues)?
JRehling
[...]
ugordan
QUOTE (JRehling @ Jan 15 2008, 06:10 PM) *
If Mercury has some grains of sand orbiting it, we'll never know.

But such small objects would be inherently unstable as light pressure and various effects related to it would destabilize the orbits quickly, no?
elakdawalla
I've just heard that MESSENGER may not get its expected 70-meter time today because of an anomaly going on with another spacecraft -- so we may have to try to exert a bit of patience (and restraint of our desire to wring exciting new science out of optical navigation images) before we see anything new.

Also, remember that if anything new comes down today, it will only be approach stuff; they don't expect departure stuff until at least tomorrow. But with the DSN schedule going haywire it's anybody's guess when the pictures we want will actually start hitting the ground.

--Emily
As old as Voyager
QUOTE (IM4 @ Jan 15 2008, 06:47 AM) *
By the way a strange faint dot can be seen in the last aproach image. Artifact, star or even MOON?


Looking at JPL's Solar System Simulator - That dot is very close to where Earth should be as seen from MESSENGER.
ugordan
QUOTE (As old as Voyager @ Jan 15 2008, 06:39 PM) *
Looking at JPL's Solar System Simulator - That dot is very close to where Earth should be as seen from MESSENGER.

*sigh* Again?

This is SSS view at the time of the last frame in question, using MESSENGER NAC field-of-view in that it preserves pixel sizes.

This is the view at the time Earth was at that relative position, again NAC FOV. This is the same view, zoomed out to twice the WAC FOV.

It cannot possibly be Earth.
ollopa
Looks like Ulysses could be troubleshooting for several days. This from the Operations Summary:



15 January EPC 1/TWTA 1 Switch off/on Test 1 - 015.01:18 ERT.
Operational test to validate future mode of operations.
Failure to re-acquire X-band downlink at the expected time.
Commands to switch EPC/TWTA 1 repeated without success.
S/C now configured to S-band downlink.


16 January TBD



17 January TBD



18 January PPSP configuration change - GRU ON - 018.hh:mm SCET.



It's at http://ulysses-ops.jpl.esa.int/ulsfct/opssumm.html
ugordan
Things always seem to work themselves out, don't they? Oh well, at least MESSENGER didn't have a cosmic ray trip 30 minutes or so after C/A.

Do they really need the 70m dish to receive from basically our neighborhood?
tedstryk
I hate to sound mean, but if they were testing some new operations mode that involved turning the transmitter off and on in the middle of the Messenger flyby, they ought to have to wait until the Messenger data is downloaded. This is probably my impatience speaking rolleyes.gif
robspace54
At noon today, the highgain download from MESSENGER was to start, but... my spy in the APL Kremlin reports (I got the email at 12:31 PM) that Ulysses (which is north of the sun on it's polar pass) declared an emergency, AND the 70 meter DSN dish that was to be used has a transmitter problem. So NO high gain down load today from Mercury space.

But the housekeeping data from MESSENGER says that the observations were completed and the data is stored. :-)


Rob

Need more DSN...
jasedm
QUOTE (robspace54 @ Jan 15 2008, 06:57 PM) *
Need more DSN...


The state of the Deep Space Network seems to be the hot issue of the moment - competing priorities, dwindling resources.
It's like doing a very good weekly shop, and then getting home to find your fridge ain't big enough...
jsheff
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jan 15 2008, 12:16 PM) *
But such small objects would be inherently unstable as light pressure and various effects related to it would destabilize the orbits quickly, no?

I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out just on orbital stability grounds. Nature has a way of surprising us with all kinds of orbital resonance tricks up its sleeve. It was within my lifetime that everyone was convinced that one side of Mercury always faced the Sun. More to the point, wasn't it at one of the M10 flybys that the UV instrument folks thought (and maybe even announced!) that they had seen a satellite around Mercury? I mention this just to show that the Mercury satellite idea, while unlikely, is not totally out of the question.

- John Sheff
Cambridge, MA
scalbers
Here's a quick (and preliminary) Mercury map update. This utilizes Ted Stryk's color Mariner 10 mosaic and part of his recent colorized Messenger approach image.

Click to view attachment

Nice to witness such a planetary encounter in the internet age.

Steve

(image revised 1/15 2020 UTC)
jabe
seems that no pics to be released today..
check here for blog entry at planetary society.
elakdawalla
Quick change to that -- just got a call from Louise saying they may release that one image late this evening after all, i.e. in the wee hours for those of you in Europe.

I've been told that on top of the Ulysses anomaly, both Mars Express and Dawn have gone in to safe mode ohmy.gif

--Emily
ugordan
Great, now I have to stay up! It's Iapetus all over again!

BTW, what is it with these statistical chances of timing safe modes at the most inconvenient time? One safing event is a fluke, but three is just obnoxious. It's a conspiracy on spacecrafts' part, I tell ya.
jabe
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jan 15 2008, 08:46 PM) *
both Mars Express and Dawn have gone in to safe mode ohmy.gif
--Emily

Yikes!! mars express is one thing but to have DAWN go into SAFE mode is another..ok..I'm more partial to the dawn mission smile.gif Lets hope all gets worked out ok..maybe this will get more funding for a few more 70 m dishes smile.gif
ngunn
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Jan 15 2008, 08:46 PM) *
I've been told that on top of the Ulysses anomaly, both Mars Express and Dawn have gone in to safe mode ohmy.gif


Are these events related? Have we had a pulse of something nasty passing through the Solar System?
deglr6328
Well its not the sun, that's for sure. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/sunspots/ three probes going into safe mode at the same time seems highly improbable. My money is on a very large GRB.
gcecil
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jan 15 2008, 12:16 PM) *
But such small objects would be inherently unstable as light pressure and various effects related to it would destabilize the orbits quickly, no?


Nope Phil et al, there ARE stable satellite orbits, over 5 Myr timescales. Here's the poster that I saw at the Orlando DPS. Johan Warell gave me a quick rundown just before my talk on our non-Mariner hemisphere imaging.

An Optical Imaging Survey for Faint Mecurian Satellites
Johan Warell1, O. Karlsson1
1Uppsala Univ., Sweden.
Presentation Number: 25.03
Facility Keywords: NOT
We present the results of an imaging survey of Mercury's Hill sphere in search for objects dynamically bound to the planet, motivated by the existence of hermeocentric orbits that have been shown to be stable over 5 Myr or more. A six-day survey of Mercury's apparent vicinity from 6 to 140 Mercury radii, with full coverage between 19 and 73 Mercury radii, was performed with the Nordic Optical Telescope on La Palma using ALFOSC in the R-band. The deepest limiting magnitude of 18.6 at a signal-to-noise-level of 3 corresponds to a hermeocentric object size of 0.5 km, while the brightest limiting magnitude corresponds to a size of 1.6 km. While two suspected sources were found, no hermeocentric objects could be confidently identified.
Our survey significantly improves on the results obtained from Mariner 10 data both in terms of aerial coverage and smallest detectable object size, but still no hermeocentric satellite has been identified. This result is however not unexpected for two reasons. Firstly, the survey size limit is 1.6 km, and as any objects likely to be in orbit are of impact debris or captured Inner Earth Object origin, existing natural satellites are probably significantly smaller. Secondly, though the dynamical lifetime of close hermeocentric objects (mean semimajor axes smaller than 30 Mercury radii) are of the order of at least 5 Myr, major impacts capable of ejecting substantial debris fragments are not very likely to have occurred during the past several Myr. This survey is not able to make predictions on the probability of existence of small hermeocentric objects (in the size range less than decameters), which remain undetected. These have to await possible discovery in close-range searches from the MESSENGER and BepiColombo spacecraft
ugordan
Maybe it's actually perfectly "normal" that 3 spacecraft can enter safe mode at any given time, due to the (let's admit it) large number of them currently active. The difference is, most of the time there's nothing big happening so we tend to never hear about all those safe modes.

Or... this could really be something out of the ordinary... A sign of global warming?

*ducks*


gcecil, can 5 million year orbital lifetimes really be regarded as stable, compared to timescales of solar system history?
dvandorn
QUOTE (deglr6328 @ Jan 15 2008, 04:19 PM) *
Well its not the sun, that's for sure.

Hmm... isn't this right about the time that the Sun is supposed to shift the polarity of its magnetic field?

We've had fields-and-particles spacecraft out taking measurements over the last few solar magnetic field cycles. Does anything happen at such times that would impact (either figuratively or literally) three different deep-space probes, all at once?

Just wondering... smile.gif

-the other Doug
Phil Stooke
I have to agree with ugordan, I don't consider 5 My orbital lifetimes stable. The only mechanism for putting a satellite in orbit today - as the abstract mentions - is the highly unlikely one of a major impact somehow getting debris into orbit. That's not only unlikely in the timescale they refer to, it's practically impossible to do in the first place. What goes up must come down!

Phil
JJR2
QUOTE (Doc @ Jan 15 2008, 12:56 PM) *
What about Venus?


Weird retrograde rotation? Cause or effect of events leading to Venusian a-moon-ness?
Astro0
Some good news...

The Canberra DSN currently has a good signal lock with Messenger.
We will be transmitting to the spacecraft in about 1 minute and 18 minutes later (RTLT) we should start seeing data coming down...all being well.

Just watched our Operations team do a great job dealing with a few issues outside our control and working to resolve them quickly to ensure that we get the data...keeping everyone at the Messenger mission, and I'm sure most of us on UMSF very happy.

Chill...it's all coming down soon. smile.gif

Astro0
JJR2
Sorry to jump into the middle of the discussion, but is there any TV coverage of the FB1 images before the NASA press conference on teh 30th? ---why no live coverage this time?
scalbers
Slightly updated map (compared with post #218) and increased to 2K resolution:

Click to view attachment

Steve
gndonald
QUOTE (Astro0 @ Jan 16 2008, 09:09 AM) *
Some good news...

The Canberra DSN currently has a good signal lock with Messenger.
Excess quoting culled


Here's hoping that one picture you're going to get down isn't blurry (ducks!) wink.gif
climber
HERE WE ARE !!!! Brand new (half) world : http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/gallery/scienc...8G.4release.jpg


Edited : can't get the image as an image :
When Mariner 10 flew past Mercury three times in 1974 and 1975, the same hemisphere was in sunlight during each encounter. As a consequence, Mariner 10 was able to image less than half the planet. Planetary scientists have wondered for more than 30 years about what spacecraft images might reveal about the hemisphere of Mercury that Mariner 10 never viewed.

On January 14, 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft observed about half of the hemisphere missed by Mariner 10. This image was snapped by the Wide Angle Camera, part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) instrument, about 80 minutes after MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury (2:04 pm EST), when the spacecraft was at a distance of about 27,000 kilometers (about 17,000 miles). The image shows features as small as 10 kilometers (6 miles) in size. This image was taken through a filter sensitive to light near the red end of the visible spectrum (750 nm), one of a sequence of images taken through each of MDIS’s 11 filters.

Like the previously mapped portion of Mercury, this hemisphere appears heavily cratered. It also reveals some unique and distinctive features. On the upper right is the giant Caloris basin, including its western portions never before seen by spacecraft. Formed by the impact of a large asteroid or comet, Caloris is one of the largest, and perhaps one of the youngest, basins in the Solar System. The new image shows the complete basin interior and reveals that it is brighter than the surrounding regions and may therefore have a different composition. Darker smooth plains completely surround Caloris, and many unusual dark-rimmed craters are observed inside the basin. Several other multi-ringed basins are seen in this image for the first time. Prominent fault scarps (large ridges) lace the newly viewed region.

Other images obtained during the flyby will reveal surface features in color and in much more detail. Collectively, these images and measurements made by other MESSENGER instruments will soon provide a detailed global view of the surface of Mercury, yielding key information for understanding the formation and geologic history of the innermost planet.


Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
nprev
Thanks for the great news, Astro0! smile.gif

Re multiple safing events: Hard to tell. According to NOAA, things are very quiet, but of course their perspective is geocentric. There was a small cosmic ray spike, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
jasedm
Wow!
First thing to note is the sheer number of very high-albedo crater-rays on this hemisphere.
If I didn't know better, I'd assume this was a Saturnian/Uranian icysat!!
Very intriguing.
JRehling
[...]
volcanopele
Goodbye Skinakas Basin, we hardly knew ye.
Bjorn Jonsson
Hmmm... nothing that looks obviously surprising to me in that first image. Some very bright (fresh?) small craters and some dark rimmed/dark craters in the northern hemisphere. A big scarp at lower left near the terminator. Overall look is a bit more smooth than I expected. A very big, highly degraded impact basin in the northern hemisphere right of center?

EDIT: The big impact basin I mentioned apparently is Caloris. It sure looks different at this phase angle, I didn't recognize it at first.
jasedm
Some of the concentric double craters are very reminiscent of those on Ganymede. Bearing in mind the similar size of the two bodies, this is perhaps to be expected (although Mercury's gravity is more appreciable)
Fantastic to be seeing these results as they come down smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif
Rob Pinnegar
Maybe I am just used to hunting for basins after spending so much time looking for them on Iapetus, but check out that dark smooth area right at the top of the image, north of Caloris. It looks a bit like an old basin.
tedstryk
Tolstoj is very prominent, with its seemingly unique (on Mercury) dark apron.


Click to view attachment
jasedm
The Arecibo results would also appear to have been spot-on - check out this ray crater...
JRehling
[...]
JJR2
Yep...that's a picture.

This is Caloris?

Click to view attachment

Just out of curiosity, at what point in the mission profile would the antipode first be visible?
JRehling
[...]
Bjorn Jonsson
QUOTE (Rob Pinnegar @ Jan 16 2008, 01:25 AM) *
Maybe I am just used to hunting for basins after spending so much time looking for them on Iapetus, but check out that dark smooth area right at the top of the image, north of Caloris. It looks a bit like an old basin.
Yes, looks like a possible basin to me. Assuming it's real it seems to be older than Caloris and of similar size (probably a bit smaller).

QUOTE (JJR2 @ Jan 16 2008, 01:29 AM) *
Yep...that's a picture. This is Caloris?
Yes, that's it.
jasedm
The most surprising feature for me so far is the albedo differential.
Some of these ray-craters are hugely brighter than the surrounding plains - comparable, if not exceeding Tycho on the moon, in terms of brightness differences from the surrounding landscape.
I assumed Mercury was fairly homogeneous in terms of it's upper kilometre or so of geology - can't wait for the magnetometer results!!!
volcanopele
Here are some labeled, sharpened, and comparison images (with Mariner 10 and RADAR):
gcecil
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jan 15 2008, 05:23 PM) *
Maybe it's actually perfectly "normal" that 3 spacecraft can enter safe mode at any given time, due to the (let's admit it) large number of them currently active. The difference is, most of the time there's nothing big happening so we tend to never hear about all those safe modes.

Or... this could really be something out of the ordinary... A sign of global warming?

*ducks*
gcecil, can 5 million year orbital lifetimes really be regarded as stable, compared to timescales of solar system history?


30 million Mercury years. All depends on the flux of stuff that might accumulate.
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