PIA15780: It's a Complex World

It’s a Complex World


This image, taken with the Wide Angle Camera (WAC), gives us a beautiful view of an unnamed crater in Mercury's northern hemisphere. The central peak and terraced walls are typical characteristics of the complex craters seen on Mercury. The sharpness of the terraces and rim, along with the smoothness of much of its floor, indicate that this crater is fairly young.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution albedo base map. The best images for discerning variations in albedo, or brightness, on the surface are acquired when the Sun is overhead, so these images typically are taken with low incidence angles. The albedo base map is a major mapping campaign in MESSENGER's extended mission and will cover Mercury's surface at an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel.

Date acquired: April 25, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 243882976
Image ID: 1709657
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 60.89°
Center Longitude: 287.4° E
Resolution: 113 meters/pixel
Scale: This crater is about 43 km (27 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 72.9°
Emission Angle: 14.7°
Phase Angle: 87.7°

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 acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a year-long extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support 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 Wide Angle Camera (WAC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Map, Radio
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2012-05-22
Date in Caption 2012-04-25
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15780
Identifier PIA15780