PIA15511: A Crack in the Floor

A Crack in the Floor


In this image, a portion of the 116 km- (73 mile-) diameter Abedin crater is visible. The floor of the crater is generally smooth, and hosts many small troughs that are interpreted to be graben . Graben form as the result of extensional (i.e. pull-apart) stresses, which in this case may have resulted from the cooling and solidification of either impact melt or volcanic fill inside Abedin, similar to that seen in other basins across Mercury.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.

Date acquired: January 27, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 236192195
Image ID: 1320489
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 62.63°
Center Longitude: 348.5° E
Resolution: 21 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is 37 km (23 miles) wide from left corner to right corner
Incidence Angle: 80.6°
Emission Angle: 46.4°
Phase Angle: 127.1°

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. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.

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)
Detector Narrow Angle Camera (NAC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Impact, Map, Radio, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2012-03-15
Date in Caption 2012-01-27
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15511
Identifier PIA15511