This image, acquired with the Wide Angle Camera (WAC), shows Chaikovskij crater. The crater, which covers about three quarters of the image, was first imaged by Mariner 10 and was named for 19th century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (popular spelling). Tchaikovsky's famous 1812 Overture will be heard throughout the country today as one of the songs typically chosen to accompany July 4th fireworks celebrations.
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 09, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 213417465
Image ID: 231034
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 8.93°
Center Longitude: 308.3° E
Resolution: 164 meters/pixel
Scale: Chaikovskij crater is 171 km (106 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 71.7°
Emission Angle: 3.8°
Phase Angle: 75.5°
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.