This image shows the crater Balzac. It is named for the French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac. Balzac wrote 91 novels and short stories between 1829 and his death in 1850. His novels span several very different genres, including psychological, realistic, fantasy, philosophical, and political novels. Balzac's novels and short stories revealed him to be an extraordinary observer and, therefore, an excellent chronicler of contemporary French society. What a scientist he would have made!
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.
Date acquired: November 27, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 262546208
Image ID: 3036718
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 11.08°
Center Longitude: 215.1° E
Resolution: 55 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater Balzac is ~67 km ( ~42 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 36.3°
Emission Angle: 42.3°
Phase Angle: 78.3°
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.