June 09, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The central crater is 366 m (1200 ft) in diameter.
Today's image is one of the highest resolution
images MESSENGER has taken to date at only 3 meters per pixel. It features a small ridge with a crater on its crest. The small crater is a simple crater
. If you look at the area around the crater, you can spy many craters that are even smaller! As MESSENGER continues passing close to the surface of Mercury, high resolution images such as this one will be taken, allowing scientists (and the public) to see Mercury as it has never been seen before!
This image was acquired as part of the MDIS low-altitude imaging campaign. During MESSENGER's second extended mission, the spacecraft makes a progressively closer approach to Mercury's surface than at any previous point in the mission, enabling the acquisition of high-spatial-resolution data. For spacecraft altitudes below 350 kilometers, NAC images are acquired with pixel scales ranging from 20 meters to as little as 2 meters.
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.