MESSENGER image of Mercury: Complex Floor of Crater Derain

Status Report From: NASA MESSENGER
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012

Of Interest: The complex floor of the crater Derain is featured in the image above. A portion of the floor displays a hummocky, pitted texture that may be related to past volcanic activity, and several troughs are visible in the center of the crater.

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

Larger image

Date acquired: January 14, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 235043648
Image ID: 1265212
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -9.43*
Center Longitude: 20.84* E
Resolution: 126 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is 134 km (83 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 81.5*
Emission Angle: 13.7*
Phase Angle: 68.2*

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