July 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
466480, 466483, 466481
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
996-nm, 558-nm, 433-nm as red-green-blue.
The edges of the image are about 2750 km (1700 mi.) long.
The upper part of this view of Mercury's surface includes a swath of material that has reflectance that does not strongly increase toward longer wavelengths, a property described as relatively "blue" in color. The bluish material also has lower overall reflectance than Mercury's average surface. The terrain to the south and west has a more reddish color. A major puzzle of Mercury's geology is the identity of the particular rock types that correspond to these colors. Visible in the scene are the craters Amaral
, Neruda and Sher-Gil
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/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 small 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, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support 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.