This image, taken by the Wide Angle Camera (WAC), shows the unique dark outline of Derain crater. Located in the upper left, Derain was first viewed during MESSENGER's second flyby and subsequently named in 2009. The impact appears to have exposed "LRM," or low reflectance material--one of the major global compositional units found on Mercury. Also visible in this image are some of Debussy's rays, as well Berkel crater, the small dark spot surrounded by bright ejecta located just above the center of the image.
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: September 20, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 224970864
Image ID: 781860
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 5 (628 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -17.18°
Center Longitude: 25.99° E
Resolution: 2275 meters/pixel
Scale: Derain crater is 168 km (104 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 33.5°
Emission Angle: 0.4°
Phase Angle: 33.7°
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.