October 4, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The field of view of this image is approx. 15 km (9 mi.) from left to right.
North is down in this image.
After formation, craters often undergo modification as their walls partially collapse
. This unnamed crater, high in Mercury's northern hemisphere, has been imaged before at high resolution
, its rough interior contrasting with the smooth plains in which it lies. In this image, at equally high resolution, we can see the small normal faults that ring the crater's perimeter, manifest as linear, sharp cliffs that face the crater interior. Faults like these have facilitated the downward movement of material from this and other craters' walls, but are often too small to see without high-resolution images.
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 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.
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. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.