One Year of Spectral Mapping
This sinusoidal equal area projection map shows the ground coverage on Mercury by the MASCS VIRS instrument. The coverage tracks are shaded by brightness measured by VIRS at 750 nm. A pixel is counted as 'observed' if any portion of it is covered by a VIRS footprint. By this method, over 81% of the surface has been observed in the primary mission of MESSENGER, with more to come in the extended mission. In locations where multiple VIRS footprints cover the same area, the footprint with the best viewing geometry (usually the lowest incidence angle) is counted for coverage, and for making spectral maps of the surface. These spectral maps are helping the MESSENGER team understand the composition and mineralogy of Mercury's surface.
Date acquired: April 02, 2012
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington