April 10, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Stevenson crater is 134 km (83 miles) in diameter. This image displays about 81 km (50 miles) of the crater's floor.
This image, taken with the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), gives us a close-up view of newly named Stevenson crater. One of the 23 Mercury craters recently assigned names
by the IAU, Stevenson crater was named in honor of Robert Louis Stevenson, the nineteenth century author best known for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
as well as A Child's Garden of Verses
, a classic collection of poems including The Swing
and The Land of Counterpane
. Stevenson crater is known for the distinct X-shape
made by the secondary crater chains
crisscrossing its floor, the result of falling ejecta from two primary impacts outside the field of view.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-incidence-angle base map. The high-incidence-angle base map is a major mapping activity in MESSENGER's extended mission and complements the surface morphology base map of MESSENGER's primary mission that was acquired under generally more moderate incidence angles. High incidence angles, achieved when the Sun is near the horizon, result in long shadows that accentuate the small-scale topography of geologic features. The high-incidence-angle base map is being acquired with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel.
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.