PIA11356: Looking Back to the Source

Looking Back to the Source


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.

Date Acquired: 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)

Background Info:

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 .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury Earth
System Mercury Earth
Target Type Earth Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2008-10-09
Date in Caption 2008-10-06
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11356
Identifier PIA11356