August 21, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
222408661, 222408681, 222408665
658976, 658981, 658977
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Donelaitis crater is 84.5 km (52.5 mi.) across.
The recently named
Donelaitis crater near the center of this image exhibits bright reddish deposits on its floor, which contrast starkly with the more relatively blue hues of the surrounding terrain. Donelaitis crater was named for Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780), a Lithuanian poet. His classic poem, 'The Seasons (Metai)', describes the lives of Lithuanian peasants, who at the time of its writing were being pushed into serfdom as most of their country was annexed by the Russian Empire.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel. The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
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.
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.