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Up Close with MESSENGER's Flight Path
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Up Close with MESSENGER's Flight Path
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Topics: Mosaics, , Polar

Date acquired: June 8, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 44519827-44520005
Image ID: 6458912-6459090
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Initial Center Latitude: 77.2°
Initial Center Longitude: 78.1° E
Final Center Latitude: 79.2°
Final Center Longitude: 193.6° E
Resolution: 50 meters/pixel
Scale: The mosaic is approximately 980 km (609 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 80.0°-87.6°
Emission Angle: 78.4°-83.5°
Phase Angle: 66.3°-66.4°

Of Interest: This mosaic provides a close-up view, at 50 m/pixel, of the surface MESSENGER imaged for the creation of its flyover video. At the beginning of its flight path, MESSENGER passed over a stretch of Mercury's north polar region, where numerous small secondary crater impacts are present. After covering over 280 km of this cratered surface, MESSENGER flew over two larger craters just north of Yoshikawa. These two craters, along with many of the craters in this region, are believed to host water ice in their permanently shadowed interiors. MESSENGER continued its orbit over a span of rough terrain. The following stretch of smooth plains is part of the impact basin Lismer. Finally, the spacecraft imaged more of the north polar roughness, capturing the interiors of two large, unnamed craters, seen as black circular features in the mosaic due to the presence of persistent shadows. To observe an aerial view of MESSENGER's flight path, click here.

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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

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.

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