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NASA unveils first global topographic model of Mercury

NASA unveils first global topographic model of Mercury
09 May 2016 Current Affairs: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has unveiled the first global digital elevation (topographic model) of Mercury. The model was unveiled by NASA’s MESSENGER ((MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission.

Highlights : The MESSENGER mission shows stunning detail the topography across the entire innermost planet of our solar system. The model was created using more than 100,000 images acquired by the MESSENGER mission. These images were acquired with a large range of viewing illumination and geometries conditions, which help to determine the topography across Mercury’s surface. The topographic model shows a variety of topographic features including the highest and lowest points on the planet. The highest elevation on Mercury is at 4.48 kilometres above Mercury’s average elevation and is located just south of the equator in some of planet’s oldest terrain.

The new topographic map provides an unprecedented view of the region near Mercury’s North Pole which was earlier not available. The new global topographic model complements an older product released by MESSENGER which was derived from earlier measurements by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA).


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