PIA14842: The Pit Within
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 559 x 552 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA14842.tif (309.1 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA14842.jpg (43.63 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:

This image shows a pit-floor crater, that is, an impact crater with a rimless depression in its floor. The pit is about 15 km long. The pit may have formed from volcanic activity, either as an eruptive vent or by collapse into a void formed when sub-surface magma withdrew. MESSENGER has found abundant evidence for volcanism on Mercury.

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. 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 23, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 212066694
Image ID: 167488
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 9.28
Center Longitude: 221.4 E
Resolution: 197 meters/pixel
Scale: The large flat-floored impact crater is about 70 km (44 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 67.9
Emission Angle: 10.1
Phase Angle: 57.7

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.

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

Image Addition Date:
2011-09-27