November 05, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Han Kan crater is about 50 km (31 mi.) in diameter
North is to the top left in this image.
Situated high in Mercury's southern hemisphere, Han Kan is a 50-km-diameter impact crater with a well preserved central peak
and a smooth floor that is likely solidified impact melt
. The crater's perimeter is relatively sharp, indicating that it formed in the latter part of Mercury's history. Terracing
along the crater's wall resulted from localized collapses
after Han Kan formed. This charming crater is named for the Chinese painter Han Kan
(720–780 CE), who is renowned for his life-like and spirited paintings of horses.
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.