August 13, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The field of view in this image is approx. 80 km (50 mi.) across
North is up in this image.
Today's image features an unnamed crater 35 km (~22 mi.) in diameter that is cross-cut by a lobate scarp
. Superposition relations
such as these provide scientists with strong evidence that the surface of Mercury has been extensively shortened, likely in response to the cooling and contraction of the planet's interior through time. Additionally, the change in shape of a once-circular crater cut by a scarp provides a way to estimate the amount
of horizontal shortening across that scarp. Such relations, therefore, offer an import insight into the broader geological development of Mercury!
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.