June 27, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
217689462, 217689478, 217689458
433721, 433725, 433720
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (430 nanometers) as red-green-blue
The inner ring of Tolstoj, the basin to the bottom right of the image, is 365 km
The various named features present in this color
image, Qi Baishi, Hovnatanian
, and Tolstoj
, create a stunning depiction of Mercury's scarred and variable surface. Tolstoj, the large basin in the bottom right of the image, represents the war and peace of its namesake's famous novel through its smooth, light-colored center and rough, dark blue exterior.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
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. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.
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.