September 29, 2009
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Mercury's diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles)
Beginning about 78 minutes prior to the spacecraft's closest approach to Mercury during the mission's third flyby of the innermost planet, the NAC acquired 62 high-resolution images. As shown in the inset to the figure above, the 62 images (blue squares) covered the entire sunlit surface of the planet, including terrain not previously imaged by spacecraft
and depicted as a featureless gray strip in the inset. On the basis of information about the location of the spacecraft and the pointing of the camera, the 62 images have been mosaicked together to create the image shown above. This image mosaic is in a simple cylindrical map projection
and is lower in resolution than the highest resolution mosaic of the flyby images of 500 meters/pixel (0.31 miles/pixel). This mosaic fills a gap that existed in the global map of Mercury
prior to the flyby. Today, MESSENGER Science Team members are attending the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting
in Portland, Oregon, and presenting some of the latest Mercury science results,
including new results from Mercury flyby 3.
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.