A NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study
of the innermost planet
NASA logo carnegie institution logo JHU APL logo

Why Mercury?
The Mission
News Center
Science Operations
Who We Are
Related Links

Download iPhone/iPad app Explore orbital data with quickmap Question and Answer End of Orbit Insertion Where is MESSENGER? Where is Mercury now? Subscribe to MESSENGER eNews

Cracked Actor
Click on image to enlarge.
Cracked Actor
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Topics: Tectonics,

Date acquired: October 16, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 227262049
Image ID: 892602
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 68.22°
Center Longitude: 14.40° E
Resolution: 140 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater at the left edge of the image is about 12 km (7 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 88.2°
Emission Angle: 39.7°
Phase Angle: 127.9°

Of Interest: This image, with north to the top, shows an area in Mercury's northern hemisphere within an old impact basin that has been flooded with volcanic plains material. The plains are cut by a series of cracks ("graben") that form a polygonal network. The graben were formed by tectonic forces that pulled the crust apart.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically are obtained at off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and have 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, 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.


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL