April 14, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
7 (748 nanometers)
Mercury's diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles).
This WAC (Wide Angle Camera) image shows a large portion of the planet, known as a limb image
. Prominent in this image is Waters crater
in the top left corner, distinctive because of its bright rays and dark impact melt flow. Also identifiable in this picture are Beethoven basin
, as well as the Bello crater, Rumi crater, Philoxenus crater, and partly visible: Palmer Rupes
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
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.