The crater in the center of the image was named Firdousi in March 2010 in honor of Hakīm Abu'l-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī (940-1020), a revered Persian poet and author of the Shāhnāmeh, the national epic of the Persian people. MESSENGER imaged this crater at an oblique angle as the spacecraft approached Mercury for its third flyby. The view shown here is a cylindrical reprojection. Firdousi is notable for the distinctive chains of small secondary craters that radiate outward from the main impact site. That these chains of secondary craters can still be seen and have not been obliterated by subsequent impact events indicates that Firdousi is a relatively young crater on Mercury's surface.
Date: September 29, 2009.
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 500 meters/pixel (0.31 miles/pixel)
Scale: The diameter of Firdousi is 96 kilometers (60 miles)
Projection: This image is a portion of the global Mercury mosaic.
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.