June 10, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Timedeg. (MET):
247799000, 247798992, 247798996
1988163, 1988161, 1988162
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
The edges of the image are about 240 km (149 mi.) long
North is up in this image.
The largest impact crater in this color view is Couperin, roughly 85 km (53 mi.) in diameter. Couperin is slightly elongated from WNW to ESE, partly due to substantial wall collapse that has formed terraces
. Low reflectance material (LRM
) dominates most of the surface around the crater's exterior. The interior consists of material that is not as dark, and which has a reddish color in places. The small central peak appears to be composed of LRM. Several bright ray
segments cross Couperin and the surrounding plains.
Francois Couperin (1688–1733) was an influential French Baroque composer. The most accomplished member of a musically talented family, he is sometimes called "Couperin le Grand". Couperin was a court composer and organist. He was a virtuoso harpsichordist, composed many pieces for the harpsichord, and wrote a book on the technique of harpsichord playing.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution 3-color imaging campaign. The map produced from this campaign complements the 8-color base map (at an average resolution of 1 km/pixel) acquired during MESSENGER's primary mission by imaging Mercury's surface in a subset of the color filters at the highest resolution possible. The three narrow-band color filters are centered at wavelengths of 430 nm, 750 nm, and 1000 nm, and image resolutions generally range from 100 to 400 meters/pixel in the northern hemisphere.
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.