Originally released on Oct. 7, 2013
This close up of Degas crater shows off its grand central peaks, which are made up of sub-surface material uplifted by the impact. Over time, material from the tops of the central peaks has slid downslope, exposing fresh material that appears bright in this image. The long cracks appearing around the central peaks were likely formed as the impact melt in the bottom of the crater cooled.
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: September 17, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 21761231
Image ID: 4841024
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 36.99°
Center Longitude: 232.8° E
Resolution: 18 meters/pixel
Scale: Degas is 55 km (approximately 34 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 67.9°
Emission Angle: 1.6°
Phase Angle: 66.2°
Orientation: North is towards the bottom of the image.
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.