Maps of magnesium/silicon (left) and thermal neutron absorption (right) across Mercury's surface (red indicates high values, blue low) are shown. These maps, together with maps of other elemental abundances, reveal the presence of distinct geochemical terranes. Volcanic smooth plains deposits are outlined in white. Read the mission news story to learn more!
Instrument: X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) and Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS)
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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.