Science and Exploration

Craters in the Caloris Basin on Mercury

By Keith Cowing
November 13, 2013
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Craters in the Caloris Basin on Mercury
Craters in the Caloris Basin on Mercury

This image features several craters near the eastern edge of the Caloris basin. The larger craters have excavated low reflectance material, and both have hollows forming within their floors.
Reddish deposits that exhibit a spectral signature similar to pyroclastics occur in the northeastern quadrant of this scene, suggesting that this region may have once been the site of explosive volcanism.

This image was acquired as a targeted high-resolution 11-color image set. Acquiring 11-color targets is a new campaign that began in March 2013 and that utilizes all of the WAC’s 11 narrow-band color filters. Because of the large data volume involved, only features of special scientific interest are targeted for imaging in all 11 colors.

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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

Date acquired: October 24, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 24470528, 24960452, 24470516
Image ID: 5033545, 5068359, 5033542
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 23.72°
Center Longitude: 179.1° E
Resolution: 260 meters/pixel
Scale: The larger crater near the top of the image is approximately 54 km (33.5 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 24.8°
Emission Angle: 8.4°
Phase Angle: 33.2°

Larger image

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

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