February 1, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The scene is 75 km (47 mi.) across
North is to the bottom in this image
The crater shown here, Boethius, is 115 km (71 mi.) in diameter. We have seen Boethius before
, when it was imaged by MESSENGER during its second flyby. Named for the early sixth-century Roman philosopher, Boethius has been filled with smooth plains
that may be volcanic in origin. After that infilling, compressional stresses that are pervasive across the entire planet's surface resulted in the formation of the prominent lobate scarp
that runs from top to bottom in the image. Boethius is yet another example of the Law of Superposition
, which helps scientists to determine the sequence of events at any given location on Mercury.
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.