MLA Montage
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MLA Montage

December 10, 2012
Release Date: November 29, 2012 Topics: HD Resolution Images, Image Compilations, MLA, Named Craters, NASA Press Conference 11/29/12, Polar Date Presented: November 29, 2012, at a NASA press conference Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) Of Interest: Montage of MLA topography, solar illumination from topography (selected for maximum illumination of Prokofiev), radar cross-section (inverted scale), and MLA reflectance at 1064 nm. The high optical reflectances on the north-facing interior of Prokofiev, and the close correspondence of MLA-dark and -bright regions with radar-bright areas and models of surface temperature, indicate that the optically bright areas likely coincide with surface exposures of water ice. Optically dark surfaces in other radar-bright areas indicate a surficial layer of darker compounds. The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

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