July 23, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
This image is approximately 34 km (21 mi.) across.
With each new image of Eminescu
, MESSENGER scientists are finding new facets of this beautiful crater to study. Eminescu is already of interest due to the spectacular hollows on its floor and peaks
. This image highlights the interesting range of textures
on Eminescu's floor. In addition to the hollows seen at the left side of the frame, which give the floor a pitted texture, there are also smooth expanses, broken up by knobs that appear to underly the smooth material. This texture is likely due to rock that was melted by the Eminescu impact and ponded on the crater floor. Along the crater wall to the right, the smooth floor transitions to a wrinkled surface, where it appears that the melt was folded as it was cooling, possibly due to slumping of the walls while the crater was still settling.
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. 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.