March 29, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9 (996 nanometers wavelength)
2 kilometers/pixel (1.2 miles/pixel)
Debussy has a diameter of 80 kilometers (50 miles)
This image shows Debussy crater, named for the impressionist-era French composer Claude Debussy. The impact crater's rim is 80 km in diameter, and the bright crater rays extend for hundreds of kilometers
. The object that impacted the surface to form this crater was probably between 4 and 8 km in diameter.
This image was taken with MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera (WAC) using the 997-nm filter, one of the 12 filters available for use with the WAC. The WAC is a refracting telescope with a focal length of 78 mm, a field of view of 10.5°, and a collecting area (entrance pupil aperture) of 48 mm2
. The detector located on the focal plane is a 1024 × 1024 pixel (1 megapixel) CCD. The filters, which reside on a rotating wheel, range in wavelength from 430 nm to 1040 nm (visible through near-infrared) and include a broadband filter for optical navigation imaging of stars.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury
. The mission is currently in the commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation
will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
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.