Images of Mercury's limb provide information about the shape and topography of Mercury, but they also provide a sense of what it would be like to fly over the innermost planet, and to look out the spacecraft window toward the horizon. See anywhere good to land?
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere.
Date acquired: July 24, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 251598850
Image ID: 2258481
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -18.25°
Center Longitude: 353.70° E
Scale: The bottom of this scene is approximately 150 km (93 mi.) across from left to right
Incidence Angle: 58.6°
Emission Angle: 80.0°
Phase Angle: 138.6°
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.