The image above depicts an old, heavily cratered surface that is covered in rays from the nearby crater Fonteyn. Fonteyn is not visible in this view but is located approximately 100 miles to the east of the center of this image. This is a particularly striking image because of the visible contrast between the surface and the rays that overprint it.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution stereo imaging campaign. Images from the stereo imaging campaign are used in combination with the surface morphology base map or the albedo base map to create high-resolution stereo views of Mercury's surface, with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Viewing the surface under the same Sun illumination conditions but from two or more viewing angles enables information about the small-scale topography of Mercury's surface to be obtained.
Date acquired: January 05, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 234239785
Image ID: 1226429
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 32.53°
Center Longitude: 90.46° E
Resolution: 259 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is 270 km (170 miles) wide.
Incidence Angle: 51.2°
Emission Angle: 10.0°
Phase Angle: 51.4°
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.