This colorful image of the impact basin Raphael shows a diversity of compositions within the volcanic plains that flooded the basin's floor. Hollows appear to be forming in the low reflectance material within the smaller, roughly 40-kilometer (25-mile) diameter complex crater just south of the center of the basin.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
Date acquired: October 19, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 259122560, 259122580, 259122564
Image ID: 2793045, 2793050, 2793046
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: -20.39°
Center Longitude: 283.6° E
Resolution: 599 meters/pixel
Scale: Raphael is 342 kilometers (213 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 53.4°
Emission Angle: 27.0°
Phase Angle: 80.3°
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.