August 08, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The image is about 28 km (17 mi.) wide.
Located in the crater Eminescu
, this high-resolution image shows part of the mountainous peak ring
, as well as an example of the extensive formation of hollows located within the crater. Hollows maintain an air of mystery in the realm of planetary science. Though the exact formation mechanism is unknown, most scientists agree sublimation of volatiles
holds the answer. This image highlights the prevalence of these hollows on and around the peak ring, as well as captures the beauty of such enigmatic formations.
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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
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.