July 17, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The impact crater of interest is about 17 km (11 mi.) in diameter
The impact crater at the top center of this image is characterized by a sharp rim and high-reflectance ejecta. Lobes of slumped material are found where the wall meets the floor. The central peak is notable because it contains a pit. A recent survey1
found 27 central pit craters on Mercury. All of these central pit craters are located in plains units
, but the mechanism by which the pits form is uncertain.
Z. Xiao and G. Komatsu (2013), Impact craters with ejecta flows and central pits on Mercury, Planetary and Space Science
, vol. 82â€“83, pp. 62â€“78.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically are obtained at off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and have visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.
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.