A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
NASA logo carnegie institution logo JHU APL logo

Why Mercury?
The Mission
Gallery
Education
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
FAQs
Related Links
Contacts
Home

Download iPhone/iPad app Explore orbital data with quickmap Question and Answer Mercury Orbit Insertion Where is MESSENGER? Where is Mercury now? Subscribe to MESSENGER eNews



Chain Reaction
Click on image to enlarge.
Chain Reaction
Release Date: November 21, 2012
Topics: Crater Chains, WAC



Date acquired: October 07, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 258083386
Image ID: 2719301
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 66.31
Center Longitude: 356.2 E
Resolution: 162 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is about 83 km (51.5 miles) across.
Incidence Angle: 87.3
Emission Angle: 3.7
Phase Angle: 91.0

Of Interest: This image, taken with the Wide Angle Camera (WAC), shows several secondary crater chains. These features are formed when ejecta from a primary impact is thrown outward. As the pieces fall back to the surface, they can form chains of small secondary craters. In this particular case, the primary impact was most likely the one that formed Abedin crater. With the Sun just 3 above the horizon (incidence angle = 87), the craters are filled with shadow.

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.


   

   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2014 by JHU/APL