This oblique-view image was obtained as a special targeted observation of the large crater Asvaghosa. This crater, 90 km (56 mi.) in diameter, has bright central peaks. Their high reflectance appears to have been enhanced by the crater ray that crosses the area, having originated either at Kuiper to the southwest, or Hokusai to the northeast.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of small areas on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
Date acquired: April 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 210460149
Image ID: 91786
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 10.6°
Center Longitude: 338.1° E
Resolution: 60 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is about 60 km (37 mi.) wide
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.