April 15, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
39881820, 39881827, 39881817
6129196, 6129198, 6129195
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
The boundary of smooth and rough terrain is approximately 130 km (81 mi.) long in this image.
Today's image of the day features a striking boundary of smooth and rough terrain near Mercury's north pole. This rugged wall of mountains would create quite a staggering view for an adventurer (or a rover) after crossing the expansive northern plains
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's minimum-phase-angle color campaign. Near the north polar region, the incidence angle (measured from the vertical) is always fairly high because the Sun is low on the horizon. The minimum-phase-angle color campaign acquires images under conditions that minimize the shadows in an image by viewing the surface as nearly as possible from the same direction as the Sun's illumination, which minimizes the phase angle. Images are acquired through five of the WAC's narrow-band color filters, for regions north of 60° N, at an average resolution of 500 meters/pixel. The minimum-phase-angle color campaign began in March 2013.
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.