December 10, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
28990861, 28990857, 28990855
5355052, 5355050, 5355049
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
The image is approximately 566 km (352 miles) across
Happy Fourth of July from MESSENGER! Today's image features an explosion of stunning rays, radiating from a crater located near Mercury's equator. The bright ejecta rays
result from impacts ejecting subsurface material. Because the subsurface material is relatively unweathered compared to the nearby surface terrain, the rays appear a bright white
in this color image.
This image was acquired as a targeted high-resolution 11-color image set. Acquiring 11-color targets is a new campaign that began in March 2013 and that utilizes all of the WAC's 11 narrow-band color filters. Because of the large data volume involved, only features of special scientific interest are targeted for imaging in all 11 colors.
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.