MESSENGER's high-resolution images obtained during the mission's second Mercury flyby have revealed a number of irregularly shaped depressions on the floor of Praxiteles crater. These depressions are intriguing indications of possible past volcanic activity within this crater. View the previously released NAC image of Praxiteles for additional discussion.
The image shown here is similar to one recently published in the 1 May issue of Science magazine. This image was created by first mosaicking together the highest-resolution NAC images available of Praxiteles (one of which is shown in the previous web release), to produce complete coverage of the crater. Independently, an enhanced-color image of Praxiteles was created by using images from all 11 WAC narrow-band color filters. (Visit last week's web release for more examples of enhanced-color images PIA12051.) The WAC images provide important color information, but the WAC resolution is considerably less than that of the mosaicked NAC images. Thus, by overlaying a slightly transparent version of the WAC enhanced-color image on the high-resolution NAC mosaic, the high-resolution color view of Praxiteles crater shown here was produced. This overlay-color view helps associate the color features with the morphologic surface features. The fact that the irregularly shaped depressions on the floor of Praxiteles are associated with bright orange and yellow color features provides evidence that the depressions may be related to past volcanic activity in this area of Mercury.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 210 meters/pixel (0.13 miles/pixel)
Scale: Praxiteles crater has a diameter of 182 kilometers (113 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.