The recently named Donalaitis crater near the center of this image exhibits bright reddish deposits on its floor, which contrast starkly with the more relatively blue hues of the surrounding terrain. Donelaitis crater was named for Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780), a Lithuanian poet. His classic poem, 'The Seasons (Metai)', describes the lives of Lithuanian peasants, who at the time of its writing were being pushed into serfdom as most of their country was annexed by the Russian Empire.
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: August 21, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 222408661, 222408681, 222408665
Image ID: 658976, 658981, 658977
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: -51.81°
Center Longitude: 39.11° E
Resolution: 874 meters/pixel
Scale: Donelaitis crater is 84.5 km (52.5 mi.) across.
Incidence Angle: 56.2°
Emission Angle: 0.5°
Phase Angle: 55.7°
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. MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.