PIA14207: Smile for the Camera

Smile for the Camera


The crater with the "smile" (the large crater toward the top of the image) is Al-Hamadhani, named in 1979 for the tenth century Iranian author Badi' al-Zaman al-Hamadhani. This crater was first imaged by Mariner 10, but MESSENGER's Wide Angle Camera (WAC) now offers us another view.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.

Date acquired: April 18, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 211589984
Image ID: 145163
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 38.39°
Center Longitude: 266.0° E
Resolution: 320 meters/pixel
Scale: Al-Hamadhani is 168 km across
Incidence Angle: 53.7°
Emission Angle: 0.2°
Phase Angle: 53.7°

Background Info:

On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury . The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.

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
Target Type Planet
Mission MESSENGER Mariner
Instrument Host MESSENGER Mariner 10
Host Type Orbiter Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Detector Wide Angle Camera (WAC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Map, Radio, Shadow
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2011-04-25
Date in Caption 2011-04-18
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14207
Identifier PIA14207