The Terminator is Here

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NASA release date June 21, 2011

The terminator of Mercury, shown here in color, is the line between light and dark, or day and night. On Mercury, three days are equivalent to two years, or in other words, the planet spins around its axis three times for every two orbits around the Sun. The first Mercury year of the MESSENGER mission ended on Monday, June 13, 2011.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.

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, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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  1. Lights In The Dark 45 months ago | reply

    Very nice detail! Love the color.

  2. dodagp 45 months ago | reply

    Vibrant capture !
    Captivating,Informatory notes

  3. Tonkita2 45 months ago | reply

    Amazing !!!!

  4. mikekingphoto 45 months ago | reply

    Although the Earth must have taken a few savage asteroid hits a long time ago, it looks as if the Moon took many more and may have saved humanity quite a few times as a defence shield? Maybe we got lucky. Nasa are not idiots or decide to close their programme. They still, still very clever. Anyhow.............Mike.

  5. Rosário Marques 45 months ago | reply

    wow! thanks for sharing...

  6. ChackM55 45 months ago | reply

    Congrats on explore !

  7. purpleface 45 months ago | reply

    This isn't the Moon, this is Mercury.

  8. wickedmartini 45 months ago | reply

    Amazing detail. Amazing image.

  9. bior 45 months ago | reply

    "The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury"

    First ever *human* spacecraft, you mean

  10. ∙ мake it ғuиky ∙ 45 months ago | reply

    i love you nasa ♥.♥

  11. Mustekala5 45 months ago | reply

    really cool!!

  12. Fresh Light 13 months ago | reply


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