This WAC image is shown in a polar stereographic projection, with the south pole at the center, 0° longitude at the top, and 90° E longitude to the right. The image extends to -70° latitude in all directions. This image is the 15th of 89 total WAC images planned in support of MDIS's south polar monitoring campaign.
One of MDIS's imaging campaigns is to monitor the south polar region of Mercury. By imaging the polar region every four MESSENGER orbits as illumination conditions change, features that were in shadow on earlier orbits can be discerned and any permanently shadowed areas can be identified after repeated imaging over one solar day. During MESSENGER's one-year mission, MDIS's WAC is used to monitor the south polar region for the first Mercury solar day (176 Earth days), and MDIS's NAC is used for imaging the south polar region during the second Mercury solar day.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
Date acquired: May 04, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 212988407
Image ID: 210577
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -85.02°
Center Longitude: 261.0° E
Resolution: 1500 meters/pixel
Scale: The diameter of this polar projection is 1,700 kilometers (1,060 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.