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

Simply Beautiful
Click on image to enlarge.
Simply Beautiful
Release Date: March 30, 2011
Topics: Crater Rays,

Date acquired: March 29, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 209894125
Image ID: 65182
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 11.8.°
Center Longitude: 13.9.° E
Resolution: 160 meters/pixel
Scale: The bright crater is about 6.4 km (4 miles) in diameter.

Of Interest: The crater near the bottom of this image is a beautiful example of a relatively small, simple, fresh impact feature on Mercury. It illustrates the textbook characteristics of a crater in its size range. The crater is nearly bowl-shaped, with just a small flat area in the center of its floor. The walls and rim are sharp and do not appear to have suffered the collapse and terracing that modify larger craters. The bright ejecta and rays are symmetrically distributed around the crater, indicating that the body that struck Mercury to form the crater approached on a path that was not highly inclined from the vertical.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in the commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. During the one-year primary mission, 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, driving science questions of the MESSENGER mission. During the year-long primary mission, MDIS plans to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of 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