July 21, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
251402330, 251402350, and 251402334
2244264, 2244269, and 2244265
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, and 6 (996, 748, and 433 nanometers, respectively) in red, green, and blue
This scene is approximately 475 km (295 mi.) across
Many regions of Mercury's surface are comprised of relatively red and smooth terrain that appears to flood low-lying regions and partially fill or bury older craters. These smooth plains are thought to have been formed by volcanic activity that drowned the region in voluminous, low-viscosity lavas.
The images that comprise this mosaic were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
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. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.
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.