Though Mercury is not known for having an especially colorful surface, some regions show a strong local contrast in color. Like other craters in Caloris, the interior and ejecta of Atget are darker and bluer than the typical brown volcanic plains. These craters help scientists to get a look at the three-dimensional compositional variations with the Caloris basin, and provide a way to judge the thickness of the volcanic plains (over 2 km here!). North is up in this image.
These images were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. 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: December 09, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 263555174, 263555178, 263555194
Image ID: 3108404, 3108405, 3108409
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, and 6 (996, 748, and 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 25.92°
Center Longitude: 166.2° E
Resolution: 224 meters/pixel
Scale: Atget is 100 km (62 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 25.9°
Emission Angle: 52.6°
Phase Angle: 78.5°
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.