April 12, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The vertical field of view in this image is approx. 100 km (63 mi.)
In this image of the floor of Dario basin, with north to the top, several features show complex cross-cutting relations. The basin floor is smooth, and probably consists of volcanic fill
. Two lobate scarps
can be seen: the faint example that runs from the top left to center right of the image appears to abruptly end at the rim of a flooded crater; the more visible north-south-trending scarp cuts clean through the crater. By studying cross-cutting relations such as these, scientists are able to determine a sequence of formation for features like those inside Dario basin.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.
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.