This image shows a portion of Mercury's surface mainly consisting of smooth plains material. This lighter, smoother area of plains is younger than the darker, rougher surrounding terrain near the edges of this image. Firdousi crater and its halo of small secondary craters is also apparent in this image, in the lower left quadrant.
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: July 17, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 219349510, 219349512, 219349518
Image ID: 513659, 513658, 513662
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: 6.77°
Center Longitude: 69.01° E
Resolution: 1330 meters/pixel
Scale: The large crater in the lower left quadrant of this image is about 134 kilometers (80 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 52.4°
Emission Angle: 0.3°
Phase Angle: 52.4°
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.