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Belinskij and Craters of Darkness
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Belinskij and Craters of Darkness
Release Date: May 30, 2011
Topics: , Shadow and Water Ice

Date acquired: May 23, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 214641016
Image ID: 288387
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -78.45
Center Longitude: 260.9 E
Resolution: 237 meters/pixel
Scale: Belinskij has a diameter of 71 kilometers
Incidence Angle: 84.9
Emission Angle: 0.9
Phase Angle: 85.4

Of Interest: The largest crater in this scene, located in the upper left portion of the image, is Belinskij, named for the Russian literary critic and journalist Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinskij (1811-1848). The crater to the east of Belinskij and about half its size contains radar-bright material. This material may be water ice, present due to low temperature conditions within a permanently shadowed region of this crater. MDIS's south polar imaging campaign will determine which of Mercury's craters contain areas of permanent shadow.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.

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, MDIS is scheduled 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.


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