Apparently, the world’s very first topographical model of the planet Mercury has been constructed from scratch.
The MESSENGER mission has just come up with the very first model of Mercury. The picture that has emerged shows the solar system’s innermost planet in all its rich topographical detail.
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This sets the scene for a geological exploration of the planet. This global initiative has so far led to three new models. NASA’s missions have been a success up until now.
Over 10 terabytes of Mercury which include 300,000 pics has been collected so far. The spectrography records alone run into the millions.
Besides the maps, there will be other pieces of data including tools that will allow the public to explore the interactive database. The future discoveries in connection with Mercury will be multiple in nature.
Most of the measurements have been made by the laser altimeter. The data had been scoured from the planetary missions for the past four years. The model reveals a number of exciting features on Mercury.
Among these are the highest and lowest points on the planet. The highest stands at 2.78 miles. The lowest is at a depth of 3.34 miles. There are many volcanic areas on the surface of the planet.
Over 100,000 pics were deployed to create a composite image of Mercury. Mercury’s north pole was especially placed in the spotlight. Volcanoes and lava were the persistent features of this area. The sun is always there at its zenith thanks to the north pole being exposed to it.
The map catches striking colors that scintillate on the surface of Mercury. Many people have taken a liking to this map of Mercury. It is a fun-filled journey to explore it in an interactive way from your computer.
MESSENGER’s role was fulfilled one year back. Beyond that it has left behind a legacy in the form of complete maps of the closest planets. It orbited these planets for a total time span of four years. The science of astronomy and astrophysics owe a lot to MESSENGER for making the impossible possible.
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An animation of the new global digital elevation model (DEM) created from MESSENGER images. Mercury’s surface is colored according the topography of the surface, with regions with higher elevations colored brown, yellow, and red, and regions with lower elevations appearing blue and purple. Credits: NASA/U.S. Geological Survey/Arizona State University/Carnegie Institution of Washington/JHUAPL