NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Hollows Within an Impact Crater

Of Interest: This interesting complex crater exhibits many hollows along its floor and central peak complex. The hollows have a very high albedo, which makes this crater stand out prominently (for example, the crater can be seen clearly near the right hand side of this image).

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 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally 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, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.

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

Date acquired: January 26, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 236105127
Image ID: 1316385
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -2.8°
Center Longitude: 353.6° E
Resolution: 119 meters/pixel
Scale: The large crater is approximately 90 km (56 mi.) across.
Incidence Angle: 67.4°
Emission Angle: 56.9°
Phase Angle: 124.4°

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