January 14, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The unnamed crater is ~83 km (52 mi.) across
The unnamed crater featured in this image might look like a ringed basin
at high sun angles, but as can be clearly seen from the inset perspective view, in which the height is exaggerated 5 times, the central portion is a second crater that impacted the middle of the older crater. Such perspective views make use of a digital elevation model (DEM)
, which can be constructed either by accumulating topographic profiles from the MLA instrument or from measurements of shadows in images (or "photoclinometry"). In this case, the basemap is draped over the Gaskell DEM, which is constructed using photoclinometry. You can make your own perspective views
of Mercury's surface using the QuickMap tool.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution stereo imaging campaign. Images from the stereo imaging campaign are used in combination with the surface morphology base map or the albedo base map to create high-resolution stereo views of Mercury's surface, with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Viewing the surface under the same Sun illumination conditions but from two or more viewing angles enables information about the small-scale topography of Mercury's surface to be obtained.
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.