PIA11416: A Color Movie of Mercury's Surface
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Wide Angle
Product Size: 360 x 243 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA11416.tif (263 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA11416.jpg (41.54 kB)

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A set of five 11-band images was captured by MESSENGER just after the spacecraft crossed the night/day line (the “terminator”), which are the highest-resolution color images ever obtained of Mercury’s surface (see PIA11410). At the beginning of this movie, it is dawn in that region of Mercury, and the Sun is just off the horizon. The long shadows that are cast by crater walls exaggerate the ruggedness of the terrain and highlight variations in topography. Though Mercury’s true colors are subtle (see PIA11364), the 11 color bands of MDIS were combined in a statistical method used to highlight differences in color units. Older, low-reflectance, and relatively blue material is encroached by younger, relatively red smooth plains. Several lobate scarps or cliffs are observed, which are places where compressional stresses caused Mercury’s crust to fracture and shorten.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)

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.

Image Credit:
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image Addition Date:
2008-10-31