PIA14810: New Images Reveal a Dark Side
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 1434 x 1434 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA14810.tif (2.059 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA14810.jpg (304 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

The double-ring basin at the top of this image was previously imaged on July 20, 2011, as part of MDIS's surface morphology base map. The previous image showed details of the basin's peak-ring structure, but the image shown here, acquired as part of MDIS's color base map, reveals the dark material on the basin floor.

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: August 19, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 222234072
Image ID: 650826
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -21.76
Center Longitude: 45.61 E
Resolution: 402 meters/pixel
Scale: The double-ring basin at the top of the image is approximately 172 kilometers (107 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 35.1
Emission Angle: 0.6
Phase Angle: 34.5

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.

Image Credit:
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image Addition Date:
2011-09-07