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Smooth Operator
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Smooth Operator
Release Date: September 22, 2011
Topics: , Smooth Terrain, Volcanism,

Date acquired: September 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 223700955
Image ID: 720424
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 82.49°
Center Longitude: 332.4° E
Resolution: 146 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater near the upper left corner is ~26 km (16 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 83.3°
Emission Angle: 52.5°
Phase Angle: 135.8°

Of Interest: This image shows an area of the northern plains that has been flooded by extensive volcanism. The wrinkle ridge running from the top to the bottom of the image marks the edge of Goethe basin, part of which is seen in the upper-left corner of this image. Many of the post-flooding craters in this scene are host to radar-bright features.

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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