[meteorite-list] Twelfth Batch of MESSENGER Data Released; Water Ice Exploration Tool Unveiled

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2014 20:13:39 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201409080313.s883Ddig014346_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


MESSENGER Mission News
September 5, 2014

Twelfth Batch of MESSENGER Data Released; Water Ice Exploration Tool Unveiled

Data collected during MESSENGER's 31st through 36th month in orbit around
Mercury were released to the public today by the Planetary Data System
(PDS), an organization that archives and distributes NASA's planetary
mission data. With this release, data are now available to the public
through the sixth full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations.

NASA requires that all of its planetary missions archive their data in
the PDS, which provides documented, peer-reviewed data to the research
community. This 12th delivery of MESSENGER data extends the formatted
raw and calibrated data available at the PDS for the spacecraft's science
instruments and the radio science investigation to the period from September
18, 2013, to March 17, 2014. Spacecraft, planet, instrument, camera-matrix,
and events (SPICE) data from launch through the period of this release
are also included.

The ACT-REACT QuickMap interactive Web interface to MESSENGER data has
been updated to incorporate the full coverage of the Mercury Dual Imaging
System (MDIS) orbital data and the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition
Spectrometer (MASCS) Visible and Infrared Spectrograph (VIRS) measurements
included in this delivery. QuickMap can be accessed via links on the MESSENGER
websites at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/ and http://www.nasa.gov/messenger .
MDIS mosaics can be downloaded from
http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/mosaics.html .

In addition, the MESSENGER team has unveiled a version of the public QuickMap
interface tailored for students and educators -- the Water Ice Data Exploration
(WIDE) tool. The WIDE tool highlights the sequence of data acquired over
four decades, culminating in MESSENGER's observations, which led to confirmation
of the proposal that water ice is present in Mercury's north polar region.

"Observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft have provided compelling support
for the 20-year-old hypothesis that Mercury hosts abundant water ice and
other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters,"
said Montana State University's Keri Hallau, of MESSENGER's Education
and Public Outreach team. "We wanted to create a suite of materials to
engage the public in the scientific process that led to this discovery."

The WIDE suite consists of a video presentation from a mission scientist
and engineer, a pencil-and-paper activity, and an introductory version
of QuickMap, the interactive data-mapping tool. Each of these individual
parts examines Mariner 10 flyby data from the 1970s, Earth-based radar
data from the early 1990s, and MESSENGER flyby and orbital data from several
instruments to show the progression of evidence in support of this conclusion.
The tool is available online at
http://www.messenger-education.org/teachers/wide.php .

The data for this release are available online at
http://pds.nasa.gov/subscription_service/SS-20140905.html, and all of the
MESSENGER data archived at the PDS are available at http://pds.nasa.gov .
The team will deliver the next mission data set for release by PDS in
March 2015.


MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging)
is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and
the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun.
The MESSENGER spacecraft was launched on August 3, 2004, and entered orbit
about Mercury on March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011 UTC), to begin a yearlong
study of its target planet. MESSENGER's first extended mission began on
March 18, 2012, and ended one year later. MESSENGER is now in a second
extended mission, which is scheduled to conclude in March 2015. Dr. Sean
C. Solomon, the Director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory, leads the mission as Principal Investigator. The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER
spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA.
Received on Sun 07 Sep 2014 11:13:39 PM PDT

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