The large crater here was formed by a very low angle, or oblique, impact. Although impacts at most angles produce circular craters, impacts with incidence angles <15º (from the horizontal) will create elliptical craters. This crater is superposed on an older, circular crater.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution stereo base map. The stereo base map is used in combination with the surface morphology base map to create high-resolution stereo views of Mercury's surface, with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel) or better. During MESSENGER's one-year mission, the surface morphology base map is acquired during the first 176 days, and the second 176 days are used to acquire the complementary stereo base map, which includes the image here.
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: October 10, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 226709610
Image ID: 865875
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 9.36°
Center Longitude: 261.4° E
Resolution: 139 meters/pixel
Scale: The long dimension of the elliptical crater is approximately 45 km (28 mi.).
Incidence Angle: 49.2°
Emission Angle: 15.3°
Phase Angle: 43.7°
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.