November 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 about 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) across
North is to the lower right of this image.
This incredible image attests to how the MESSENGER spacecraft is now able to resolve Mercury's surface: with a resolution of a little more than five meters (seventeen feet) per pixel, a person of average walking pace could cross this scene in about an hour.
The image shows the fine texture on the inner wall of an unnamed impact basin 100 km (62 mi.) in diameter, situated immediately west of the larger Dali
basin. Both this basin and its larger neighbor are filled with smooth plains
and deformed by lobate scarps
and wrinkle ridges
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. In the mission's more than three years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 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.