March 30, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Camoes has a diameter of 70 kilometers (43 miles)
MESSENGER's near-polar orbit about Mercury, in contrast to the mission's three equatorial flybys
of the planet, enables MDIS to view Mercury's polar regions for the first time. This image, located in Mercury's south polar region, shows the crater Camoes near the center of the image. A scarp
crosses the floor and wall of Camoes, in a pattern similar to that seen at Thakur crater
. Camoes takes its name from the Portuguese poet Luiz Vas de Camoes (c. 1524-1580). The crater extending out of the upper left corner of the image is Okyo, named for the Japanese painter Maruyama Okyo (1733-1795).
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury
. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation
will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
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.