During MESSENGER's approach to Mercury yesterday, the NAC acquired a high-resolution, 62-image mosaic of the sunlit crescent planet. Many of these images show portions of Mercury'ssurface not previously seen by spacecraft, including the NAC image shown here. In this image, Mercury's northern horizon cuts a crisp line against the blackness of space. The surface in the lower right corner of the imageis near Mercury's terminator, the line between the light dayside and dark night side of the planet. Looking toward the horizon, smooth plains extend for large distances, similar to volcanic plains seen nearby during MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury. Members of the MESSENGER Science Team are gathered today at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, discussing these high-resolution images in detail.
Date Acquired: September 29, 2009
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 162744001
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 410 meters/pixel (0.25 miles/pixel) in the lower right corner of this image
Scale: This image is about 420 kilometers (260 miles) across
Spacecraft Altitude: 16,200 kilometers (10,100 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.