This volcano-like feature is found in Kipling crater and shares similarities to other pyroclastic deposits on Mercury. Where on Earth volcanoes frequently form mountains, on Mercury most of the "volcanoes" that have been identified are characterized by pits or depressions. Described as rimless depressions with irregular shapes, most pyroclastic deposits on Mercury are on the order of a few tens of kilometers in size.
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: August 16, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 221974660
Image ID: 638531
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -19.15°
Center Longitude: 71.37° E
Resolution: 51 meters/pixel
Scale: From top to bottom, this feature measures approx. 35 km (22 mi.)
Incidence Angle: 49.7°
Emission Angle: 18.1°
Phase Angle: 31.6°
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.