April 18, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
This image is approximately 28 km (17 miles) across
One of our highest resolution views yet inside the beautiful Balanchine
crater reveals the bright hollows that cover portions of the crater. (See also this lower resolution view
taken in 2011, before Balanchine crater was named.) The hollows appear to reside not just on the floor, but on portions of the slumped crater walls as well.
This image was acquired as a targeted set of stereo images. Targeted stereo observations are acquired at resolutions much higher than that of the 200-meter/pixel stereo base map. These targets acquired with the NAC enable the detailed topography of Mercury's surface to be determined for a local area of interest.
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.