October 09, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The image is about 225 km (140 mi.) across
North is up in this image.
Like the Wedding Guest in the thrall of the Ancient Mariner, we are transfixed by the stunning landscape of today's image and the dramatic story it tells. The large degraded impact crater near the center is Coleridge. It has been pummeled by later impacts, crumpled by the formation of lobate scarps
, deeply incised by secondary crater chains
, and much of the interior and low-lying portions of the exterior have been infilled by plains volcanism
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was an English poet, known for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
and Kubla Khan
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-incidence-angle base map. The high-incidence-angle base map complements the surface morphology base map of MESSENGER's primary mission that was acquired under generally more moderate incidence angles. High incidence angles, achieved when the Sun is near the horizon, result in long shadows that accentuate the small-scale topography of geologic features. The high-incidence-angle base map was acquired with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel.
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.