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

Frozen Fire
Click on image to enlarge.
Frozen Fire
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Topics: Color Images, Vents, Volcanism

Date acquired: October 21, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 259322083, 259322075, 259322079
Image ID: 2807348, 2807346, 2807347
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: 53.62
Center Longitude: 275.2 E
Resolution: 100 meters/pixel
Scale: The impact crater hosting the volcanic vent is about 24 km (15 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 67.2
Emission Angle: 0.2
Phase Angle: 67.4

Of Interest: Today's image shows an unnamed impact crater northwest of Stravinsky. The floor contains an irregular depression (vent) that was likely the site of an explosive volcanic eruption. One such form of eruption is known as a "fire fountain". The subtle yellow-orange cast that surrounds the volcanic depression is the once-molten, but now solidified, pyroclastic material that was deposited during the eruption.

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.


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL