November 07, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
2 (700 nanometers)
Yoshikawa crater is approximately 30 km (19 miles) in diameter
Yoshikawa crater, named for Japanese novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, dominates the scene in today's featured image. This crater may host ice-rich deposits
within its floor. Though in total shadow when it was imaged here on November 7, 2013, only a portion of the floor is permanently shadowed
from the Sun's rays. The crisp rim and well-preserved field of secondary craters surrounding Yoshikawa mean that it is a relatively young crater, and any ice deposits within it must also be relatively young.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's campaign to image within regions of permanent shadow in ice-bearing polar craters. Imaging with the WAC broadband clear filter, which has a bandwidth of 600 nanometers and is used for calibration imaging of stars, has the potential to reveal details of shadowed surfaces that are weakly illuminated by scattered sunlight. NAC images obtained with long exposure times are also acquired to seek details within shadowed regions. A variety of image exposure times and viewing conditions are employed to maximize the opportunity to resolve surface features of areas in permanent shadow.
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.