Kuiper, the bright crater in the top left quadrant of this color image, extends its bright rays across the entirety of the dark terrain beneath. Also visible are crater rays extending into the scene from the right side of the image, originating from another impact crater outside the field of view. The terrain is peppered with small fresh craters that appear bright against the dark background.
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 goals.
Date acquired: April 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 210495316, 210495332, 210495312
Image ID: 93753, 93757, 93752
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: -33.56°
Center Longitude: 334.1° E
Resolution: 1972 meters/pixel
Scale: Kuiper, the bright crater in the top left quadrant, 62.3 km (38.7 mi)
Incidence Angle: 34.4°
Emission Angle: 0.6°
Phase Angle: 34.7°
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.