Messenger will be the first probe to orbit Mercury; it was previously visited by the Mariner 10 spacecraft, which made several, passes in the 1970s.
Messenger has already made three flybys of Mercury and is set to enter orbit around the rocky world on 17 March.
Volcanism on Mercury is "a question that had been debated for 30 years," Solomon said. NASA's Mariner 10 probe, which flew by the planet in the mid-1970s, imaged some plains on Mercury that suggested they may have been laid down as lava flows, but the images were inconclusive.
More recent studies from Messenger imaging provide further evidence for volcanic activity on Mercury in the last 1 million to 2 million years.
At this point, about 98 percent of Mercury's surface has been imaged. Messenger will make up the rest, and image the surface in greater detail, and under better lighting conditions, than ever before.
Overall, the new knowledge gained will help paint a better picture of how Mercury, as well as the solar system as a whole, formed and evolved.