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Mercury, a Planetary Punching Bag
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Mercury, a Planetary Punching Bag
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Topics: Color Images, Rough Terrain,

Date acquired: May 23, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 11621959, 11621954, 11621956
Image ID: 4120141, 4120139, 4120140
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: 66.03°
Center Longitude: 243.7° E
Resolution: 183 meters/pixel
Scale: The larger crater is 48 km in diameter (29.5 miles).
Incidence Angle: 79.5°
Emission Angle: 0.2°
Phase Angle: 79.7°

Of Interest:
Here multiple generations of craters can be seen. On Mercury, billions of years of impact events can be seen where older craters have younger craters within the interior and on the rim and ejecta. When comparing different terrains on Mercury, the number of craters per unit area can be used to estimate the absolute age of the surfaces, as well as to give insight into the relative ages of the terrains.

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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