The large unnamed crater in today's featured image is located just north of Mercury's equator. The crater's walls and floor are cross-cut by a scarp, which illustrates the law of superposition. The law of superposition helps scientists to make conclusions about the relative timing of different geologic events and the relative age of geologic features. Since the scarp cuts through the crater's walls and floor, scientists conclude that the crater is older than the scarp.
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: June 30, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 14904546
Image ID: 4353624
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 5.02°
Center Longitude: 7.06° E
Resolution: 47 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is approximately 48 km (30 miles) in length
Incidence Angle: 78.8°
Emission Angle: 23.0°
Phase Angle: 101.9°
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.