The lower half of this image is dominated by a large, moderately fresh impact crater in Mercury's southern hemisphere. Several chains of overlapping secondary craters have incised the surroundings just outside the crater's rim, especially to the south, west, and north. The crater's floor is flat, probably filled with impact melt or volcanic deposits. Ponds of impact melt may be present just outside the rim at the 3:30 and 10:00 o'clock positions.
The crater is named Khansa, after Al-Khansa, a seventh-century CE poet who was born in what is now Saudi Arabia. She is most famous for her elegies. Her name is sometimes translated from the Arabic as "the Gazelle." Khalil Gibran, one of the world's top three best-selling poets, made a drawing of Al-Khansa.
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: September 24, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 22328501
Image ID: 4881952
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 57.5° S
Center Longitude: 307.5° E
Resolution: 252 meters/pixel
Scale: Khansa crater is about 115 km (71 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 63.7°
Emission Angle: 52.7°
Phase Angle: 102.0°
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.