Press Release

A High-resolution Look over Mercury’s Northern Horizon

By SpaceRef Editor
September 30, 2009
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A High-resolution Look over Mercury’s Northern Horizon

During MESSENGER’s approach to Mercury yesterday, the NAC acquired a high-resolution, 62-image mosaic of the sunlit crescent planet. Many of these images show portions of Mercury’s surface not previously seen by spacecraft, including the NAC image shown here. In this image, Mercury’s northern horizon cuts a crisp line against the blackness of space.

The surface in the lower right corner of the image is near Mercury’s terminator, the line between the light dayside and dark night side of the planet. Looking toward the horizon, smooth plains extend for large distances, similar to volcanic plains seen nearby during MESSENGER’s second flyby of Mercury.

Members of the MESSENGER Science Team are gathered today at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, discussing these high-resolution images in detail.

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

SpaceRef staff editor.