MDIS acquires targeted images of small areas on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than those of the morphology, stereo, or color base maps. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at such high resolutions during MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week. Additionally, as new features of particular science interest are imaged from orbit, targets are added to a database list and will be imaged if possible at higher resolution by MDIS, or with multiple instruments, the next time that area of Mercury is in view from the spacecraft. This image is a mosaic of four images from a targeted observation acquired at 15 m/pixel, a resolution that is more than an order of magnitude improvement over the surface morphology base map. These ultra-high-resolution images are revealing Mercury's surface in unprecedented detail.
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 21, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 211851682, 211851687, 211851692, 211851697
Image ID: 157545-48
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 83.12°
Center Longitude: 291.6° E
Resolution: 15 meters/pixel
Scale: 20 kilometer scale bar given on image
Incidence Angle: 82.9°
Emission Angle: 12.4°
Phase Angle: 70.4°
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.