As MESSENGER approached Mercury, the NAC acquired images to create a mosaic of the entire planet. The mosaic shown here was created from about half of those images and is shown in an orthographic projection. This view is in contrast to the cylindrical equidistant map mosaic previously released. For this mosaic, an orthographic projection was used to create a view that has the perspective that one would see from deep space. Over three decades earlier, Mariner 10 viewed this portion of Mercury's surface, and the craters that were named on the basis of those images are labeled on this mosaic. The MESSENGER images of this same territory are allowing scientists to study Mercury's surface under different illumination conditions, and these complementary views provide new insight into the nature of the geologic features on Mercury.
Date Acquired: January 14, 2008