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Darkness Falls
Click on image to enlarge.
Darkness Falls
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Topics: NAC



Date acquired: May 02, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 244458801
Image ID: 1750578
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 79.27
Center Longitude: 232.13 E
Resolution: 15 meters/pixel
Scale: The prominent crater at top left is just under 3 km (1.9 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 79.8
Emission Angle: 11.9
Phase Angle: 67.9

Of Interest: This dramatic image, taken when the sun was a mere ten degrees above the horizon, showcases a small, simple crater atop the rim of a larger, 35 km-diameter unnamed complex crater. The smaller crater's rim shows little sign of erosion or collapse, marking it as a relatively young feature. While Mercury is replete with chains of small craters formed by ejecta thrown out by nearby impacts, this small crater does not appear to belong to such a chain.

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 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are 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, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support 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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