October 21, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
259322083, 259322075, 259322079
2807348, 2807346, 2807347
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
The impact crater hosting the volcanic vent is about 24 km (15 mi.) in diameter.
Today's image shows an unnamed impact crater northwest of Stravinsky. The floor contains an irregular depression (vent) that was likely the site of an explosive volcanic eruption. One such form of eruption is known as a "fire fountain". The subtle yellow-orange cast that surrounds the volcanic depression is the once-molten, but now solidified, pyroclastic material
that was deposited during the eruption.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution 3-color imaging campaign. The map produced from this campaign complements the 8-color base map (at an average resolution of 1 km/pixel) acquired during MESSENGER's primary mission by imaging Mercury's surface in a subset of the color filters at the highest resolution possible. The three narrow-band color filters are centered at wavelengths of 430 nm, 750 nm, and 1000 nm, and image resolutions generally range from 100 to 400 meters/pixel in the northern hemisphere.
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.