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Mercury's Kidney
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Mercury's Kidney
Release Date: June 18, 2012
Topics: Caloris, Color Images, Vents, Volcanism,

Date acquired: July 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218373498, 218373494, 218373490
Image ID: 466588, 466587, 466586
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 21.74
Center Longitude: 145.5 E
Resolution: 370 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is approximately 377 km (234 miles) across.
Incidence Angle: 23.4
Emission Angle: 20.8
Phase Angle: 44.3

Of Interest: This scene is located in the southwestern portion of Caloris basin. The color image allows us to see the strong contrast in the nature of the rocks forming the interior and the exterior of the basin. The northern and eastern parts of the image are dominated by the light orange material that makes up the basin floor. Outside the basin (to the south and west), dark blue material is found. In the center of the image is a kidney-shapped depression that is surrounded by a halo of lighter material. This feature has been imaged at higher resolution and is thought to be a volcanic vent.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.

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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