Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
This image was taken about 54 minutes before MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury during the mission's second flyby of the innermost planet in the Solar System. The striking image shows a view looking over Mercury's horizon into the darkness of space. The surface in this image is located in the northern portion of the sunlit, crescent-shaped planet seen as the spacecraft approached Mercury. The low Sun angle creates distinct shadows, enhancing the visibility of the roughness of the surface, which is especially prominent for material ejected from, and surrounding, the impact crater cut by the left edge of this image.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington