NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Picasso

Status Report From: NASA MESSENGER
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of Interest: This image, taken with the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), gives us a close-up look at Picasso crater. Named for Pablo Picasso, the 20th century Spanish painter, sculptor and father of Cubism, this crater is easily identifiable by the interesting comma-shaped pit on its floor. The pit may have formed when subsurface magma drained, causing the surface to collapse and leaving a void in its place.

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: January 10, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 234663190
Image ID: 1246919
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 3.55°
Center Longitude: 51.62° E
Resolution: 148 meters/pixel
Scale: Picasso crater is 133 km (83 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 65.3°
Emission Angle: 18.3°
Phase Angle: 52.2°

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