In one of the first images transmitted back to Earth following MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, an image of the entire departing planet ( PIA11245 ), a spectacular and extensive system of rays can be seen. This NAC image shows a close-up view of the apparent source of those rays, a crater 110 kilometers (68 miles) in diameter located in the northern region of Mercury. The location of this bright crater is consistent with Earth-based radar images, which suggested a very fresh, rayed impact crater in this area. The amazing extent of this large ray system is visible for the first time in MESSENGER's newly acquired images.
October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131774306
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 570 meters/pixel (0.35 miles/pixel) at the bottom left of the image
Scale: The extensively rayed crater is about 110 kilometers in diameter (68 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 22,000 kilometers (14,000 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy .
|Instrument||Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)|
|Extra Keywords||Crater, Grayscale|
|Date in Caption||2008-10-06|
|Image Credit||NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington|