The young rayed impact crater Petipa lights up the top portion of today's image. Petipa formed near a boundary between intermediate terrain (brownish in this presentation, in top part of image) and low-reflectance material (dark blue, in the middle of the image). Petipa, Fonteyn and Nureyev, were acclaimed ballet dancers.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel. The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
Date acquired: March 14, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 240248347, 240248355, 240248349
Image ID: 1517091, 1517096, 1517092
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: 8.96°
Center Longitude: 20.76° E
Resolution: 927 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is about 490 km (304 mi.) across.
Incidence Angle: 26.4°
Emission Angle: 1.5°
Phase Angle: 28.0°
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.