First seen in Mariner 10 images, and again during MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, the bright-rayed crater Kuiper (62 km in diameter) provides an important stratigraphic marker in Mercury's history. The craters Calvino (67 km) and Rudaki (123 km), imaged at some of the highest resolution color obtained prior to orbit, are seen at the bottom left (northeast is up).
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
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 10, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 210890915
Image ID: 112208
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (996 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -11.58°
Center Longitude: 312.7° E
Resolution: 1239 meters/pixel
Scale:The crater Calvino is 67 km in diameter (42 miles)
Incidence Angle: 21.4°
Emission Angle: 6.5°
Phase Angle: 28.0°
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.