Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The vent is approximately 36 km (22 miles) across
This series of oblique images highlight the wall and exterior of the beautiful volcanic vent located to the northeast of Rachmaninoff basin
and west of Copland crater
can be seen along a portion of the wall and the exterior is smooth
due to a blanket of fine particles of lava that were ejected explosively from the vent in a pyroclastic eruption. This vent is deeper than Earth's Grand Canyon.
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 four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury in April 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.