The bright floor of the crater Lermontov, first imaged by Mariner 10, stands in contrast to the surrounding terrain of Mercury. The large depressions found in the floor have been interpreted as evidence for explosive volcanism, providing insight into Mercury's volcanic history. The surface within the crater also appears to have been altered by the formation of hollows.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
Date acquired: February 12, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 3010537
Image ID: 3507773
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (996 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 15.81°
Center Longitude: 311.8° E
Resolution: 276 meters/pixel
Scale: Lermontov is 166 km (103 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 49.7°
Emission Angle: 28.5°
Phase Angle: 78.2°
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.