This image highlights the difference between the areas on and below the newly named Belgica Rupes. The arrows show Belgica's location, stretching along most of this image for about 764 km. Notice how some of the smaller, newer craters obscure the scarp line, while the older craters were clearly disrupted by the formation of Belgica Rupes.
The word 'rupes' comes from the latin word for cliff. All rupes on Mercury are named after vehicles of exploration. Belgica was a Belgian ship that explored the south pole of earth in 1898. Belgian Rupes is also very close to the southern pole of Mercury. It's name was approved by the IAU on June 6, 2013 along with 9 other rupes.
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 17, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 222063126, 222063130, 222063122
Image ID: 642667, 642668, 642666
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 3, 4, 6 (479, 558, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: -52.80°
Center Longitude: 64.08° E
Resolution: 896 meters/pixel
Scale: Belgica Rupes extends 764 km (475 miles).
Incidence Angle: 63.3°
Emission Angle: 0.4°
Phase Angle: 63.2°
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.