February 25, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The edges of the image are about 170 km (105 mi.) long.
The name Kuniyoshi was recently adopted by the International Astronomical Union for the 26.5 km diameter crater near the center of today's image. Utagawa Kuniyoshi was a Japanese painter and printmaker (1798-1861). The subjects of his artwork included landscapes, Kabuki scenes, cats, samurai heroes and the mythical and supernatural
. Kuniyoshi crater is morphologically fresh, with a sharp rim, steep central peak, and impact melt ponds on the floor and near-rim ejecta. To the west of Kuniyoshi is a famous mercurian lobate scarp, Discovery Rupes
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically are obtained at off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and have visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.
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.