March 10, 2014
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 6 km (4 mi.) across
North is to the right in this scene.
In this image, we see a portion of a wrinkle ridge
to the north of Gauguin crater, high in Mercury's northern volcanic plains
. Wrinkle ridges are common on Mercury, but when imaged under high resolutions we get a more detailed view of these structures than before. For example, here we can see that the leading edge of the ridge is actually composed of several smaller edges. The contact between the ridge and the surrounding smooth plains is softened toward the bottom right of the image, but near the top-left that contact is sharper. Continued high-resolution imaging of Mercury's wrinkle ridges will allow scientists to more thoroughly describe their various shapes, which in turn will help us understand why the ridges formed in the first place.
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.