February 15, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
7 (748 nanometers)
The smaller crater in the upper left is 7.8 km (4.8 miles) in diameter.
This image is of the southern rim
of the crater Stravinsky
. In this high-incidence-angle lighting, the topography of the crater is easily seen. Particularly noticeable is the difference between the crater's flat floor
and the hummocky terrain of the ejecta blanket
outside the crater. The area in the lower left of the image is part of the Vyasa
basin. Since Stravinsky's ejecta overlaps Vyasa, we can deduce that Stravinsky is younger than Vyasa.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-incidence-angle base map. The high-incidence-angle base map complements the surface morphology base map of MESSENGER's primary mission that was acquired under generally more moderate incidence angles. High incidence angles, achieved when the Sun is near the horizon, result in long shadows that accentuate the small-scale topography of geologic features. The high-incidence-angle base map was acquired with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel.
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.