With the Sun low on the horizon, shadows accentuate the hilly nature of this terrain. This surface has been battered by repeated impacts for billions of years, creating the hilly surface that exists today. As a previous featured image of a nearby area put it, Mercury has been a "planetary punching bag."
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: November 12, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 26543484
Image ID: 5181047
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 67.11°
Center Longitude: 249.8° E
Resolution: 11 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is 14.6 kilometers (9.1 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 82.0°
Emission Angle: 36.9°
Phase Angle: 118.9°
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.