September 23, 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 about 260 km (162 mi.) from top to bottom
North is to the top left of the image.
Although one of Mercury's largest lobate scarps
, Discovery Rupes
is by no means an unusual type of landform on the innermost planet. In fact, scarps cover the surface, and are interpreted to be the result of crustal shortening
as Mercury's interior cooled and contracted. In this dramatic view of Discovery Rupes, taken with the Sun low in the sky
, the relief along 400-km-long structure can be clearly seen as it cross-cuts Rameau crater
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.