MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Peaks in Caloris Basin

Status Report From: NASA MESSENGER
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011

Of Interest: This image shows a portion of the eastern edge of Caloris basin, one of the largest impact basins in the Solar System. The floor of the Caloris basin is filled with volcanic plains, while the Caloris Montes, a ring of mountainous peaks, are found along the basin's rim. The surface located outside Caloris is scoured and rough. Near the edge of the Caloris basin, "islands" of rough terrain can be found surrounded by the smooth volcanic plains of Caloris' floor, such as the one visible near the center of this image.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution stereo base map. The stereo base map is used in combination with the surface morphology base map to create high-resolution stereo views of Mercury's surface, with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel) or better. During MESSENGER's one-year mission, the surface morphology base map is acquired during the first 176 days, and the second 176 days are used to acquire the complementary stereo base map, which includes the image here.

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: October 25, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 228023960
Image ID: 929374
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 39.838°
Center Longitude: 180.28° E
Resolution: 236 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is approximately 250 kilometers (160 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 81.88°
Emission Angle: 10.88°
Phase Angle: 89.18°

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