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North Polar Roughness
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North Polar Roughness
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Topics: Color Images, Polar, Rough Terrain,

Date acquired: June 22, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 248865807, 248865802, 248865804
Image ID: 2064058, 2064056, 2064057
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 84.33°
Center Longitude: 150.1° E
Resolution: 156 meters/pixel
Scale: 107.18 km (66.6 mi) diagonal image length
Incidence Angle: 84.3°
Emission Angle: 28.7°
Phase Angle: 84.9°

Of Interest: This image highlights a rough region near Mercury's northern pole. It is challenging to image the terrain neat the northern pole, because the sun is always low on the horizon, causing long shadows. In this case, the shadows dramatically accentuate the topography.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution 3-color imaging campaign. The map produced from this campaign complements the 8-color base map (at an average resolution of 1 km/pixel) acquired during MESSENGER's primary mission by imaging Mercury's surface in a subset of the color filters at the highest resolution possible. The three narrow-band color filters are centered at wavelengths of 430 nm, 750 nm, and 1000 nm, and image resolutions generally range from 100 to 400 meters/pixel in the northern hemisphere.

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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