Today's image features Laxness, a crater on Mercury's northern plains named for Halldör Laxness, a twentieth-century Icelandic writer. The overlain MLA track bisecting Laxness reveals the crater's topography, which is difficult to resolve in images because of the crater's persistently shadowed interior. On the right of the image is a cross-section of Laxness showing how the crater's depth changes from point A to point B. The MLA data show that Laxness is a complex crater with a central peak (light blue). While the crater's central peak is not obvious in the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), it is clearly distinguishable to MLA.
Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
MLA Track: MLASCIRDRAPLFN1202071801
Crater's Center Latitude: 83.3°
Crater's Center Longitude: 310.0° E
Scale: The crater has a diameter of 25.9 km (16.1 miles)
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.