The crater at the center of this image is home to more of the "hollows" that dot Mercury's surface, which appear here as high-reflectance features near the crater's central peak and around its floor-wall boundary. This crater, which does not yet have an official name, was also seen in an early image that MESSENGER captured during the spacecraft's first imaging orbit around Mercury.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.
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 21, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 227644286
Image ID: 911007
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -1.98°
Center Longitude: 354.1° E
Resolution: 337 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater at center is approximately 90 km (56 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 79.6°
Emission Angle: 56.2°
Phase Angle: 135.9°
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.