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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 131, Issue 1–4, pp 393–415 | Cite as

The X-Ray Spectrometer on the MESSENGER Spacecraft

  • Charles E. SchlemmII
  • Richard D. Starr
  • George C. Ho
  • Kathryn E. Bechtold
  • Sarah A. Hamilton
  • John D. Boldt
  • William V. Boynton
  • Walter Bradley
  • Martin E. Fraeman
  • Robert E. Gold
  • John O. Goldsten
  • John R. Hayes
  • Stephen E. Jaskulek
  • Egidio Rossano
  • Robert A. Rumpf
  • Edward D. Schaefer
  • Kim Strohbehn
  • Richard G. Shelton
  • Raymond E. Thompson
  • Jacob I. Trombka
  • Bruce D. Williams
Article

Abstract

NASA’s MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission will further the understanding of the formation of the planets by examining the least studied of the terrestrial planets, Mercury. During the one-year orbital phase (beginning in 2011) and three earlier flybys (2008 and 2009), the X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) onboard the MESSENGER spacecraft will measure the surface elemental composition. XRS will measure the characteristic X-ray emissions induced on the surface of Mercury by the incident solar flux. The Kα lines for the elements Mg, Al, Si, S, Ca, Ti, and Fe will be detected. The 12° field-of-view of the instrument will allow a spatial resolution that ranges from 42 km at periapsis to 3200 km at apoapsis due to the spacecraft’s highly elliptical orbit. XRS will provide elemental composition measurements covering the majority of Mercury’s surface, as well as potential high-spatial-resolution measurements of features of interest. This paper summarizes XRS’s science objectives, technical design, calibration, and mission observation strategy.

Keywords

Mercury MESSENGER X-ray spectrometry Surface composition X-ray emissions Elemental composition 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. SchlemmII
    • 1
  • Richard D. Starr
    • 2
  • George C. Ho
    • 1
  • Kathryn E. Bechtold
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Hamilton
    • 1
  • John D. Boldt
    • 1
  • William V. Boynton
    • 3
  • Walter Bradley
    • 1
  • Martin E. Fraeman
    • 1
  • Robert E. Gold
    • 1
  • John O. Goldsten
    • 1
  • John R. Hayes
    • 1
  • Stephen E. Jaskulek
    • 1
  • Egidio Rossano
    • 1
  • Robert A. Rumpf
    • 1
  • Edward D. Schaefer
    • 1
  • Kim Strohbehn
    • 1
  • Richard G. Shelton
    • 1
  • Raymond E. Thompson
    • 1
  • Jacob I. Trombka
    • 4
  • Bruce D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryLaurelUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsThe Catholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Planetary Science, Space Sciences BuildingUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.Goddard Space Flight CenterCode 691GreenbeltUSA

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