PIA14395: Using Shadows to Measure Crater Depths

Using Shadows to Measure Crater Depths


This figure shows two images of craters obtained by MDIS from orbit. Left: A simple, bowl-shaped crater 4.1 km in diameter crater located at 78.8°N, 346.3°E. Solar illumination is from the south. Right: A complex crater 51.5 km in diameter located at 2.3°N, 121.4°E. Illumination is from the east. Shadows cast on a crater interior can be used to estimate the depth of a crater floor below the surrounding rim. To read more about about how craters on Mercury are measured, visit the MESSENGER Science Highlight article .

Date Presented: July 7, 2011, in a MESSENGER Science Highlight article.

Background Info:

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing.

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
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Radio, Shadow
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2011-07-07
Date in Caption 2011-07-07
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14395
Identifier PIA14395