April 10, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
This image is 36 km (21 mi.) across.
Inside the large peak-ring basin Praxiteles
sits this small, unnamed crater that has been partially flooded
with volcanic material. The flooded 25-km-diameter crater postdates the formation of the nearly 200-km basin but predates the flow that filled it. Such stratigraphic relationships help planetary geologists decipher the history of planetary surfaces. For example, the presence of this unnamed impact crater suggests a substantial amount of time passed between the formation of Praxiteles, and the flooding event, ruling out impact melt as the flooding material. Also seen in this image on the right side are the enigmatic hollows
, which here eroded part of Praxiteles' peak ring
. North is to the top right.
This image was acquired as a targeted set of stereo images. Targeted stereo observations are acquired at resolutions much higher than that of the 200-meter/pixel stereo base map. These targets acquired with the NAC enable the detailed topography of Mercury's surface to be determined for a local area of interest.
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.