September 17, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
224718677, 224718685, 224718679
769641, 769646, 769642
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Picasso crater is about 134 kilometers (83 miles) in diameter
This color image emphasizes three major features of Mercury's surface: bright ejecta rays
, explosive volcanic vents
, and dark low reflectance material (LRM)
. The bright ray passing through the center of the image is part of Hokusai's immense system of rays. To the right, Picasso
's arc-shaped pit
is distinctive in color and contrasts with the patch of LRM to the crater's right.
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.