March 29, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
209890193, 209890197, 209890213
65109, 65110, 65114
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
6,7,9 (433, 749, 996 nanometers wavelength)
The radius of Mercury is 2440 km
As in this monochrome view of Mercury
, the bright rays of Hokusai crater can be seen crossing the surface from north to south. This color image, with the central wavelengths of 1000 nm, 750 nm, and 430 nm displayed in red, green, and blue, respectively, also highlights some of the subtle color variations observed on Mercury. Spectral variations can be due to differences in particle size, duration of time exposed on surface, or composition. The MESSENGER team is working hard to unravel the complicated story contained in these beautiful color images.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury
. The mission is currently in its 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.