This very high resolution image features three impact craters of nearly the same size that overlap to form a cloverleaf pattern. All three have rounded rims, indicating that they are relatively old. Determining the sequence of events is difficult. It may be that the one at the bottom formed most recently, blasting away sections of the rims of the other two.
This image was acquired as part of the NAC ride-along imaging campaign. When data volume is available and MDIS is not acquiring images for its other campaigns, high-resolution NAC images are obtained of the surface. These images are designed not to interfere with other instrument observations but take full advantage of periods during the mission when extra data volume is available.
Date acquired: February 26, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 238781474
Image ID: 1445431
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 48.76°
Center Longitude: 298.0° E
Resolution: 13 meters/pixel
Scale: The scene is about 14 km (9 mi.) across.
Incidence Angle: 71.7°
Emission Angle: 0.1°
Phase Angle: 71.7°
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.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.