Today's image features a small, simple impact crater on Mercury's northern plains. The superimposed track is a set of altimetry measurements by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) that resolves the bowl-shaped morphology characteristic of simple craters. This morphology is evident in the topographic profile on the right of this image that displays how the crater's depth changes from point A to point B.
Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
MLA Track: MLASCIRDRAPLFN1112211457
Crater's Center Latitude: 78.1°
Crater's Center Longitude: 327.5° E
Scale: The crater has a diameter of 4.53 km (2.81 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. During the first two years of orbital operations, 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.