December 14, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
7 (748 nanometers)
The basin's main ring is about 126 km (78 mi.) in diameter.
Today's image is a view of Ahmad Baba, a classic mercurian peak-ring basin
. Ahmad (Ahmed) Baba was a West African writer who lived from 1556-1627. The Malian city of Timbuktu is home to the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library and research center named in his honor. The Institute is home to over 18,000 ancient manuscripts.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel. The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
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.