The feature that causes this crater to appear to be winking is called a lobate scarp. Lobate scarps are compressional features on Mercury's surface that are thought to be caused by the planet shrinking as it cooled. They can be found on many areas of Mercury such as in this image.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing.
Date acquired: May 23, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 214633316
Image ID: 288293
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 77.02°
Center Longitude: 192.3° E
Resolution: 155 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater with the scarp passing through it is approximately 44 km (27 mi) across.
Incidence Angle: 77.1°
Emission Angle: 0.1°
Phase Angle: 77.1°
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.