This image shows two of the most prominent rayed craters on the surface of Mercury. In the top center is Kuiper, named for Dutch-American planetary astronomer and Mariner 10 team member Gerard Kuiper (1905-1973). At the right edge is the 80-km diameter crater named for French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). The impacts that formed these craters ejected target materials for great distances across the planet's surface, and the image shows areas where the two sets of rays intersect. Another group of rays,entering the image from the top right, were deposited by the impact that formed Hokusai crater, far to the north. Hokusai was a Japanese artist who lived from 1760-1849.
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 06, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131772995
Image ID: 6793
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -31.41°
Center Longitude: 326.4° E
Resolution: 2800 meters/pixel
Scale: The distance between Kuiper and Debussy is about 1940 km (1200 miles)
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.