July 21, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The left-to-right field of view in this image is approximately 80 km (50 miles) across
North is to the lower right of the image.
We've seen Thakur before—both in full color
and as part of a larger view
of this region of Mercury. This time, in an oblique view of its southern portion, we can see how two prominent lobate scarps
deform the crater. These scarps form when one block of crust thrusts
up and over another, and are thought to have formed due to a reduction in Mercury's surface area as its interior cooled and contracted. The face of a scarp indicates the direction these blocks have moved so, as we see it here, Tharkur has been squeezed from the top-right and from the bottom-left.
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.