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X-ray fluorescence spectra obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury indicate that the planet's surface differs in composition from those of other terrestrial planets. Relatively high Mg/Si and low Al/Si and Ca/Si ratios rule out a lunarlike feldspar-rich crust. The sulfur abundance is at least 10 times higher than that of the silicate portion(More)
Microwave and mid-infrared observations reveal that Mercury's surface contains less FeO + TiO2 and at least as much feldspar as the lunar highlands. The results are compatible with the high albedo (brightness) of Mercury's surface at visible wavelengths in suggesting a rock and soil composition that is devoid of basalt, the primary differentiate of(More)
During MESSENGER's first flyby of Mercury, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer made simultaneous mid-ultraviolet to near-infrared (wavelengths of 200 to 1300 nanometers) reflectance observations of the surface. An ultraviolet absorption (<280 nanometers) suggests that the ferrous oxide (Fe2+) content of silicates in average surface(More)
The MESSENGER Gamma-Ray Spectrometer measured the average surface abundances of the radioactive elements potassium (K, 1150 ± 220 parts per million), thorium (Th, 220 ± 60 parts per billion), and uranium (U, 90 ± 20 parts per billion) in Mercury's northern hemisphere. The abundance of the moderately volatile element K, relative to Th and U, is inconsistent(More)
The MESSENGER spacecraft's Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) obtained more than 1.6 million reflectance spectra of Mercury's surface from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelengths during the first year of orbital operations. A global analysis of spectra in the wavelength range 300–1450 nm shows little regional variation in(More)
The region around Mercury is filled with ions that originate from interactions of the solar wind with Mercury's space environment and through ionization of its exosphere. The MESSENGER spacecraft's observations of Mercury's ionized exosphere during its first flyby yielded Na+, O+, and K+ abundances, consistent with expectations from observations of neutral(More)
[1] A technique for converting gamma-ray count rates measured by the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer on the MESSENGER spacecraft to spatially resolved maps of the gamma-ray emission from the surface of Mercury is utilized to map the surface distributions of the elements Si, O, and K over the planet's northern hemisphere. Conversion of the K gamma-ray count rates to(More)
Keywords: Mercury Mercury's surface composition Iron-poor mineralogy Spectroscopy of mercury's surface Mercury's formation a b s t r a c t Mid-infrared 2-D spectroscopic measurements from 8.0 to 12.7 mm of Mercury were taken using Boston University's Mid-Infrared Spectrometer and Imager (MIRSI) mounted on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna(More)
Enhanced abundances of neutral potassium (K) in the atmosphere of Mercury have been found above the longitude range containing Caloris Basin. Results of a large data set including six elongations of the planet between June 1986 and January 1988 show typical K column abundances of approximately 5.4 x 10(8) K atoms/cm(2). During the observing period in(More)
Mercury is surrounded by a tenuous exosphere that is supplied primarily by the planet's surface materials and is known to contain sodium, potassium, and calcium. Observations by the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby revealed the presence of neutral magnesium in the tail (anti-sunward) region of(More)