April 05, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET) (since January 8, 2013):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Kuiper has a diameter of ~62 kilometers (39 miles)
This striking image of Kuiper
shows the crater in a new perspective. This image highlights the crater's smooth impact melt
and central peaks
. Kuiper, first seen by Mariner 10, is an easily identifiable
feature on Mercury's surface due to its bright rays, similar to Hokusai
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.
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.