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to be announced Thursday and to be published in Science Friday.
MESSENGER Reveals New Details of Planet Mercury
this looks like a geeky cool Thursday (Thursday evening here in Europe): we have a WISE NEO update at 17 UTC and this MESSENGER teleconf at 18 UTC!
The view from the surface must be like that as well; if there's ever a landing site candidate someday, that's the place! (Along with the poles).
Phil Stooke
I told you about those pits! - and check out the LRO thread where I highlight similar pits on the Moon. But on the Moon there are VERY few and they are quite old. But they still exist. On Mercury, zillions of them and could still be forming today.


for lucky subscribers, Science papers are here
Phil Stooke
A few further thoughts on the pits for clarification. There are two distinct types, the large deep pits such as those I illustrated near a crater in Caloris, with 'false color orange' surroundings (and as shown by Jim Head in the new release), and much smaller shallow 'hollows' making up the bright patches on some crater floors, illustrated by Blewitt in the new release. Both kinds are seen in Tyagaraja crater. The smaller ones are more like the small lunar pits I've been showing in LROC images. The larger ones might be more like the big pyroclastic center south of Orientale on the Moon, surrounded by a dark halo. In both cases, they are found on the Moon, but few and old, and on Mercury where they are plentifull and probably a lot younger.


Wow! ohmy.gif

Not only great presentations but a reminder that Messenger truly is a quiet achiever.
Many of those depressions have an 'Ina caldera' look about them. Vulcanism on Mercury certainly is more interesting than we might have expected...

Nothing useful to say, but I must add: ohmy.gif ohmy.gif ohmy.gif !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Absolutely remarkable.
Wow. Mercury really is more interesting than I expected.

QUOTE (antipode @ Sep 30 2011, 11:16 AM) *
Vulcanism on Mercury certainly is more interesting than we might have expected...

Bad pun? rolleyes.gif
A volatile rich Mercury..... just WOW!

Of course, at Mercury's surface temps, what counts as volatile is a bit different than what most of us usually think of as volatile...
How does finding all these volatiles on the surface of Mercury square with the "Late Heavy Bombardment" hypothesis? It would seem that, if there was such an event and it included Mercury, these volatiles on its surface would have been destroyed. Is LHB in trouble?

- John Sheff
Cambridge, MA
Gsnorgathon had an insightful comment about that; check above.

I don't think the LHB is in trouble. One thing to remember about Mercury is that as the innermost planet it probably gets mo' betta impacts than everything else but Jupiter & the Sun over time, and therefore a greater influx rate of elements/minerals.

Just my opinion, of course. However, Messenger is definitely proving to be a fascinating mission!

Thanks Gsnorgathon...
Volatiles are relative. My remark earlier should have been qualified. I was not thinking what we Earthlings commonly think of as volatites - H2O, CO2, NH3, etc.
I grew up with text books that offered a silicate, iron model of Mercury that left little room for higher temperature volaties such as K and S.
The sulfur content is 10 x the Earth. That is significant. Again I say WOW.

There will be a joint ESO-DPS MESSENGER breifing Wednesday at 12:15 CSET. Going to try and catch it .... not sure if anything new since last week but what the heck.

Wednesday 05 October – Mercury and MESSENGER Mission Briefing
Mercury after 6 months of MESSENGER orbital observations (Sean Solomon), Geometry of Mercury's magnetic field and implications for Mercury's dynamo and magnetosphere–surface interactions (Brian Anderson), The dynamics of Mercury's exosphere (Bill McClintock), Mercury's geological and surface compositional evolution (Brett Denevi), Variations in surface reflectance spectra (Noam Izenberg), BepiColombo Current Status (Johannes Benkhoff).
Webcast link:


Presentations and release available here:

Emily's summary from the conference here:
Hollows formed by hydrogen geysers?
J. Marvin Herndon appears to be a crank. Never any coauthors on his papers, other scientists have mantle convection and magnetic field generation completely wrong, there's a nuclear reactor in Earth's core, he named a process he "discovered" after himself, blabbedy blah.

Some presentation slides from LPSC results.
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Nov 2 2011, 12:43 AM) *
J. Marvin Herndon appears to be a crank. ...

He's one of the better known cranks. I like a few of his ideas in isolation, but they are mixed with a lot of things that are clearly wrong.

Hollows on hills:
And now in 3D!;image_id=1137
New paper on the inner and outer core of Mercury based on gravitational data:
Really interesting! This got me quickly checking up on what the current state of knowledge is regarding Venus' interior, and we can now say that we understand Mercury's interior better than Venus'. Extrapolating even further, Mercury gives us the only other example we're going to get of a terrestrial planet with a magnetic field that we can explore in situ and this is important for understanding what might allow terrestrial exoplanets to possess a magnetic field, and ultimately, the frequency of earthlike climates around the universe! Kudos to the team for this work.
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