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A Secondary Mystery
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A Secondary Mystery
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Topics: Crater Chains, Crater Rays, Hovnatanian, Mozart, , , Qi Baishi

Date acquired: July 25, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 220118046
Image ID: 550495
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -5.58°
Center Longitude: 168.8° E
Resolution: 49 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater at bottom is approximately 17 km (10 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 77.3°
Emission Angle: 57.6°
Phase Angle: 135.0°

Of Interest: The unnamed crater in this image is almost exactly halfway between two nearby rayed craters: Qi Baishi and Hovnatanian. Qi Baishi is to the west and Hovnatanian is to the east - are these craters the source of the many elongated secondary craters in the scene? The orientation of the secondaries actually suggests another source to the north: the 225-km Mozart impact basin.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.

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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