September 15, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The left-to-right field of view in this image is about 5.3 km (3.3 miles) across
North is up in this image.
MESSENGER continues to image the surface of Mercury at ever higher resolutions. In this view, we can see the southeastern rim of the Bechet impact crater, located in Mercury's northern volcanic plains
. Bechet is 17.6 km (10.9 miles) in diameter. At this resolution (about 10 meters per pixel), the texture on the crater's inner wall is clearly visible. This texture is distinct from that of the crater floor, and may be due to the down-slope creeping
of wall material. There also appears to be a subtle change in slope along the wall, which could be an incipient slump
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. In the mission's more than three years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 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.