Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
Exaggerated by a factor of 5.5.
Coded by topography. The tallest regions are colored red and are roughly 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) higher than low-lying areas such as the floors of impact craters, colored blue.
The large crater on the left side of the image is Janacek, with a diameter of 48 kilometers (30 miles)
On April 30th, this region of Mercury's surface will have a new crater! Traveling at 3.91 kilometers per second (over 8,700 miles per hour), the MESSENGER spacecraft will collide with Mercury's surface, creating a crater estimated to be 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter.
The large, 400-kilometer-diameter (250-mile-diameter), impact basin Shakespeare
occupies the bottom left quarter of this image. Shakespeare is filled with smooth plains material, likely due to extensive lava
flooding the basin in the past. As of 24 hours before the impact, the current best estimates predict that the spacecraft will strike a ridge slightly to the northeast of Shakespeare. View this image
to see more details of the predicted impact site and time.
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 270,000 images and extensive other data sets. View highlights of the mission in this image highlights collection
. 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 on April 30, 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.