Late last week, the Planetary Data System (PDS) released data collected during MESSENGER's seventh through twelfth month in orbit around Mercury. PDS archives and distributes all of NASA's planetary mission data. With this release, images and measurements are now available to the public for the second full Mercury solar day of MESSENGER orbital operations.
NASA requires that all of its planetary missions archive data in the PDS, an active archive that makes available well-documented, peer-reviewed data to the research community. The PDS includes eight science teams, called discipline nodes, each of which is centered at a university or research institution and specializes in a specific area of planetary data. The contributions from these nodes provide a data-rich source for scientists, researchers, and developers.
In this eighth release of MESSENGER measurements by PDS, calibrated data from all seven of the mission's science instruments, plus radio science data from the spacecraft telecommunications system, are included. The MESSENGER team has created a software tool with which the public can view data from this delivery. ACT-REACT-QuickMap provides an interactive Web interface to MESSENGER data. Developed by Applied Coherent Technology Corporation, the software allows users to examine global mosaics constructed with high-resolution images from this and previous PDS deliveries.
The tool also provides weekly updates of coverage for surface-observing instruments, as well as the status of specially targeted MDIS observations. Information is also available that can be used to locate MESSENGER data products at the PDS. QuickMap can be accessed via links on the MESSENGER websites at http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/ and http://www.nasa.gov/messenger. The MDIS mosaics can be downloaded from http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/mosaics.html.
The data for this release are available online at http://pds.nasa.gov/subscription_service/SS-20120308.html, and all of the MESSENGER data archived at the PDS thus far are available at http://pds.nasa.gov. The team will submit three more data deliveries to PDS at six-month intervals from MESSENGER's primary orbital mission and its extended mission.