March 04, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The edges of the scene are about 8 km (5 mi.) long
North is toward the top of the image.
A portion of the crest of a small scarp, located north of the crater Stravinsky
, is the subject of this image. A number of impact craters of all sizes and states of preservation are present. Some of the craters are primary impacts, formed by meteoroid whose orbits intersected that of Mercury. Many others are secondaries, resulting from pieces of ejecta launched by primary impacts that struck the surface and produced a crater themselves. This reminds us that airless Solar System bodies like Mercury, the Moon, and the satellites of the outer planets are continually hit by cosmic impacts. The presence of an atmosphere (i.e., at Venus, Earth, Mars, and Titan) provides some degree of protection, however.
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.