July 29, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The image is approximately 28 km wide (17 mi.)
This image focuses on the central peaks and impact melt
of Hokusai crater
. The contrast between the illuminated sides of these peaks and their shadows make this a striking image. It is interesting to note that the smooth floor surrounding the mountains was formed from cooling impact melt generated from the heat and energy of the original impact. The crater's name honors the Japanese painter and printmaker, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) who possessed a slight obsession with the famous volcano Mt. Fuji. Hokusai's most well known work is "Mount Fuji Seen Below a Wave at Kanagawa"
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.