MESSENGER is again sending images back to Earth after the spacecraft emerged from superior solar conjunction, when communication is largely blocked by the Sun. These will be some of our last views of Mercury from MESSENGER! Featured here is the ejecta blanket of a fresh impact crater located just outside the scene. Ejecta scoured the surface leaving behind beautiful patterns of secondary craters.
Date acquired: April 16, 2015
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 71544702
Image ID: 8343072
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 55.67°
Center Longitude: 97.37° E
Resolution: 19.9 meters/pixel
Scale: This scene is approximately 20 km (12 miles) across
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. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury in April 2015.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.