November 08, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The field of view is ~20 km (12 mi.) across
North is to the right of this image
Tired of hearing about the Fiscal Cliff? Try this cliff, instead.
The floor of the Caloris basin consists of smooth, volcanic plains
— but these plains have been modified by subsequent impacts and tectonic deformation
. This crater, which is located not only on the Caloris interior plains but half-covers its neighbor
, has a sharp, well-preserved rim and internal terraces
. The floor of the crater is some 900 m (~0.5 mi.) below the rim, making this crater's wall quite a cliff indeed.
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.