PIA11763: A Study in Dark and Light

A Study in Dark and Light


Visible near the top of this NAC image are two distinctive craters, imaged for the first time during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby. The crater at upper left has light-colored material around its rim and on its floor. In contrast, the larger crater to the right is surrounded by a halo of dark material. Craters with distinctive light and dark materials were also seen during the mission's first Mercury flyby, such as the craters Poe and Sander located within the Caloris basin (see PIA10603 ). (The crater Sander was named in April 2008 [ PIA10611 ], while the name of Poe just recently received official approval [ PIA11762 ].) The dark and light materials likely represent rocks with different chemical and mineralogical compositions and as such offer an opportunity to learn about variations in the components that make up Mercury's surface.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131771993
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 260 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel)
Scale: This image is about 260 kilometers wide (160 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 10,200 kilometers (6,300 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
System Mercury
Target Type Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2008-12-03
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/PIA11763
Identifier PIA11763