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Complex Craters
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Complex Craters
Release Date: November 11, 2011

Date acquired: October 27, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 228200113
Image ID: 937596
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 5.65°
Center Longitude: 321.9° E
Resolution: 104 meters/pixel
Scale: The large crater in this scene is approximately 90 km (56 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 69.2°
Emission Angle: 66.8°
Phase Angle: 102.0°

Of Interest: While many of the most spectacular craters on Mercury are young and rayed, the vast majority are older and have been modified by both internal and external forces over time. The large 90-km crater in this image has been deformed by a lobate scarp and battered by craters up to 30 km in diameter.

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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