March 06, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
4938281, 4938277, 4938273
3644965, 3644964, 3644963
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
The width of the image is about 240 km (149 mi.)
North is up in this image.
The center of this image is dominated by Melville crater, named for American writer Herman Melville (1819–1891). Melville (about 146 km or 91 mi. in diameter) is somewhat elongated, and might represent an oblique impact or two impacts that happen to partially overlap. It is a relatively old crater, one that has been heavily eroded by subsequent impacts. This erosion has partially obscured its rim, the approximate location of which is shown by the dashed line in the inset.
The northern third of Melville's floor has a higher reflectance and a somewhat redder color than the darker, more bluish material toward the south. Melville's north-central floor contains a younger crater, about 6 km (4 mi.) in diameter, which has a bright rim. Just to its NW lies a smaller crater with bright rays.
Herman Melville worked as a merchant sailor and on whaling ships early in his life. His most famous novel is Moby Dick
, published in 1851. He also wrote short fiction and poetry.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
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.