April 05, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The crater with the bright floor is about 70 km (44 mi.) in diameter
This image brings us back to the vicinity of Matisse, the subject of several recent Gallery images
. The unnamed impact crater with the bright pyroclastic deposit
on its southern floor also has two arcuate scallops on its northern wall. These were the sites of massive landslides
that took place when the oversteepened crater wall collapsed. The ultimate cause of the collapse is the topography of the area where the crater formed: the northern part of the crater formed on the wall of Matisse.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution albedo base map. The best images for discerning variations in albedo, or brightness, on the surface are acquired when the Sun is overhead, so these images typically are taken at low incidence angles. The albedo base map covers Mercury's surface at 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.