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

Volcanic Plains
Click on image to enlarge.
Volcanic Plains
Release Date: October 18, 2012
Topics: Color Images, Volcanism,

Date acquired: July 21, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 251402330, 251402350, and 251402334
Image ID: 2244264, 2244269, and 2244265
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, and 6 (996, 748, and 433 nanometers, respectively) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: -8.27°
Center Longitude: 113.1° E
Resolution: 411 meters/pixel
Scale: This scene is approximately 475 km (295 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 56.0°
Emission Angle: 30.8°
Phase Angle: 86.8°

Of Interest: Many regions of Mercury's surface are comprised of relatively red and smooth terrain that appears to flood low-lying regions and partially fill or bury older craters. These smooth plains are thought to have been formed by volcanic activity that drowned the region in voluminous, low-viscosity lavas.

The images that comprise this mosaic were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. 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.


   Top  | Contacts
© 1999-2015 by JHU/APL