Extending from the left edge of this image downward toward the lower right corner is a long cliff face. This cliff runs through a large ancient crater in the center of the frame. Cliffs such as this one, referred to as rupes on Mercury, have been identified on other areas of the planet, such as Beagle Rupes (PIA10939) imaged during MESSENGER’s first flyby. This rupes is being seen for the first time, as this portion of Mercury’s surface is located within the “gap” present in the Mariner 10 dataset (PIA11354). This cliff may have been created when, in Mercury’s past, the entire planet cooled and the surface consequently contracted.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131771143
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 150 meters/pixel (0.09 miles/pixel)
Scale: The bottom of this image is about 150 kilometers across (93 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 5,700 kilometers (3,500 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.