PIA12079: Colors Reveal What Lies Beneath
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Wide Angle
Product Size: 672 x 653 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA12079.tif (1.318 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA12079.jpg (72.12 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

This enhanced-color image shows Titian crater (center) and is similar to an image that recently appeared in the 1 May issue of Science magazine. The enhanced-color view was created by using high-resolution images taken in all 11 WAC filers (one of which is shown in a previously released image, see PIA11765) and comparing and contrasting them to accentuate differences on Mercury’s surface. Such color differences can be used to learn about the history of Mercury’s surface in this area. In the enhanced color, the smooth floor of Titian is a brighter orange color than the surrounding area, likely due to being filled with volcanic material. Ejecta from Titian appear blue and cover much of the surface surrounding the crater. This material was excavated from depth during the crater’s formation. Later impacts, such as the one that produced the small crater that appears yellow in the upper center of the image, excavated material from below the Titian ejecta. This yellow-appearing material was present at or near the surface before the impact that created Titian and is a different composition (and thus, color) from its surroundings. Impacts make it possible to assess how Mercury’s crust varies with depth and ultimately how the crust evolved through time.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 462 meters/pixel (0.29 miles/pixel)
Scale: Titian crater is 121 kilometers (75 miles) in diameter

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:
2009-06-16