PIA15857: Darkness Falls
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 512 x 512 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA15857.tif (262.6 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA15857.jpg (20.2 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 dramatic image, taken when the sun was a mere ten degrees above the horizon, showcases a small, simple crater atop the rim of a larger, 35 km-diameter unnamed complex crater. The smaller crater's rim shows little sign of erosion or collapse, marking it as a relatively young feature. While Mercury is replete with chains of small craters formed by ejecta thrown out by nearby impacts, this small crater does not appear to belong to such a chain.

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 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

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 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

Date acquired: May 02, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 244458801
Image ID: 1750578
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 79.27
Center Longitude: 232.13 E
Resolution: 15 meters/pixel
Scale: The prominent crater at top left is just under 3 km (1.9 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 79.8
Emission Angle: 11.9
Phase Angle: 67.9

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 acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a year-long extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.

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:
2012-06-08