The large Rembrandt basin is evident on the left side of this image, and, in contrast to the relatively darker material surrounding Rembrandt, Amaral crater and its bright rays can be seen on the right. Rembrandt basin is an area of particular scientific interest due to its large size, young age, and extensional and contractional characteristics. In fact, Rembrandt was highlighted in a publication of Science magazine in 2009 and featured on the cover.
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.
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. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goal.
Date acquired: July 11, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218833662, 218833682, 218833666
Image ID: 489008 , 489013, 489009
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (433 nanometers) as red-green-blue
Center Latitude: -34.67°
Center Longitude: 100.4° E
Resolution: 1853 meters/pixel
Scale: Rembrandt basin has a diameter of 716 kilometers (445 miles).
Incidence Angle: 50.5°
Emission Angle: 0.4°
Phase Angle: 50.5°
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.