Home | Site Map | What's New | Image Index | Copyright | Posters | ScienceViews | Science Fiction Timelines |

PHOTO INDEX OF
PRIMARY TARGETS
ASTEROIDS
COMETS
EARTH
JUPITER
KUIPER BELT
MARS
MERCURY
METEORITES
NEPTUNE
OORT CLOUD
PLUTO
SATURN
SOLAR SYSTEM
SPACE
SUN
URANUS
VENUS
ORDER PRINTS

OTHER PHOTO INDEXES
ALL TARGETS
PHOTO CATEGORIES

SCIENCEVIEWS
AMERICAN INDIAN
AMPHIBIANS
BIRDS
BUGS
FINE ART
FOSSILS
THE ISLANDS
HISTORICAL PHOTOS
MAMMALS
OTHER
PARKS
PLANTS
RELIGIOUS
REPTILES
SCIENCEVIEWS PRINTS

A First Look at Terrain Near Mercury's North Pole

Target Name:  Mercury
Spacecraft:  MESSENGER
Instrument:  Wide Angle Camera
Produced by:  NASA/JHUAPL
Copyright: Copyright Free
Date Released: 30 March 2011

Related Documents
Download Options

NameTypeWidth x HeightSize
VSS00176.jpgJPEG512 x 508111K
VSS00176.tifTIFF512 x 508263K

Date acquired: March 29, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 209895911
Image ID: 65416
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers wavelength)
Center Latitude: 81.2°
Center Longitude: 72.3° E
Resolution: 166 meters/pixel (0.10 miles/pixel)
Scale: The bottom of this image is about 84 kilometers (52 miles) across

Of Interest: This WAC image showing a never-before-imaged area of Mercuryís surface was taken from an altitude of ~450 km (280 miles) above the planet during the spacecraftís first orbit with the camera in operation. The area is covered in secondary craters made by an impact outside of the field of view. Some of the secondary craters are oriented in chain-like formations.

This image was taken during MESSENGERís closest approach to the sunlit portion of the surface during this orbit, just before crossing over the terminator. The oblique illumination by the Sun causes the long shadows and accentuates topography. The highly elliptical orbit of MESSENGER brings the spacecraft down to a periapsis (MESSENGERís closest approach to Mercury) altitude of ~200 km (125 miles) and out to an apoapsis (MESSENGERís farthest distance from Mercury) altitude of ~15,000 km (9300 miles).

On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet.

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

Copyright © 1995-2016 by Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.