A Photo from the Messenger of Mercury

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Date acquired: June 26, 2011

Image ID: 0217604449, 0217604465, 0217604445
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (430 nanometers) as red-green-blue
Center Latitude: -19.31°
Center Longitude: 187.7° E
Resolution: 1385 meters/pixel

Highlighted in this image are Basho, the dark-haloed crater at the bottom of this scene, Kalidasa crater, the bright crater near the center, along with Tolstoj basin on the right, in beautiful color. Many different types of surface materials are found in this region, including crater rays, low reflectance material (LRM), and smooth plains (within Tolstoj).

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.

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.  During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.

source: NASA

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