Remember this? Since its first observation in 2009, the volcanic vent complex to the northeast of Rachmaninoff basin has rewarded us with remarkable views of its explosive history. Portions of the vent are blanketed in a layer of very fine-grained material thought to be composed of pyroclastic particles, and when we last saw this landform at very high resolution we could appreciate just how fine that texture is. Now, with a resolution almost four times greater than that last image, we can see how the pyroclastic deposit softens the form of adjacent impact craters - almost like snow.
Fiery, hot, angry snow.
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: January 25, 2015
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 64531318
Image ID: 7861883
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 36.1°
Center Longitude: 64.7° E
Resolution: 14 meters/pixel
Scale: The left-to-right field of view in this image is about 7.2 km (4.5 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 69.2°
Emission Angle: 48.9°
Phase Angle: 118.1°
North is up in this 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. 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.