Today's image features a 60-km-long scarp, or cliff face, near Mercury's north pole. This scarp formed as one block of crust thrusted forward over another block. It is possible that this scarp formed as the cooling of the planet's interior caused global contraction. The crater in the image overprints the scarp, indicating that the crater is younger than the scarp, according to the law of superposition.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution 3-color imaging campaign. The map produced from this campaign complements the 8-color base map (at an average resolution of 1 km/pixel) acquired during MESSENGER's primary mission by imaging Mercury's surface in a subset of the color filters at the highest resolution possible. The three narrow-band color filters are centered at wavelengths of 430 nm, 750 nm, and 1000 nm, and image resolutions generally range from 100 to 400 meters/pixel in the northern hemisphere.
Date acquired: June 25, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 249125060
Image ID: 2082464
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (996 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 83.73°
Center Longitude: 185.5° E
Resolution: 136 meters/pixel
Scale: Crater diameter is about 11 km (6.6 miles)
Incidence Angle: 85.3°
Emission Angle: 0.1°
Phase Angle: 85.4°
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.