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Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
This is a still image taken from a rotating movie
of Mercury's Rachmaninoff
impact basin. An enhanced-color image
has been draped over a digital elevation model
of the surface. The vertical exaggeration is 7 times. The basin's outer rim is about 306 km in diameter and the inner (peak) ring is about 140 km in diameter. The smooth plains within the center appear tan in this presentation, emphasizing their compositional contrast with the dark, bluer rocks that form the peak ring mountains. Images from the Mercury Dual Imaging System on board NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft were processed to provide the color and elevation information used to create this view.
The color base map shown here consists of MDIS images taken through eight different color filters. It is part of a global color map that covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of about 1 kilometer per pixel.
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.