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
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
Related Links

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

A Study in Contrasts
Click on image to enlarge.
A Study in Contrasts
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Topics: Albedo Contrasts, Craters with Dark Material, Hollows, , , Basho

Date acquired: November 06, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 260649832
Image ID: 2901613
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -32.47°
Center Longitude: 189.2° E
Resolution: 103 meters/pixel
Scale: Basho crater is approximately 75 km (47 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 32.4°
Emission Angle: 4.9°
Phase Angle: 32.6°

Of Interest: Today's featured image provides our best look yet at Basho crater, a relatively young impact in Mercury's southern hemisphere. Basho features some of the most striking albedo contrasts on the planet, with both low-reflectance ejecta and high-reflectance deposits thought to be hollows.

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.


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL