PIA15863: Mercury's Kidney

Mercury’s Kidney


This scene is located in the southwestern portion of Caloris basin . The color image allows us to see the strong contrast in the nature of the rocks forming the interior and the exterior of the basin. The northern and eastern parts of the image are dominated by the light orange material that makes up the basin floor. Outside the basin (to the south and west), dark blue material is found. In the center of the image is a kidney-shaped depression that is surrounded by a halo of lighter material. This feature has been imaged at higher resolution and is thought to be a volcanic vent .

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.

Date acquired: July 05, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218373498, 218373494, 218373490
Image ID: 466588, 466587, 466586
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 21.74°
Center Longitude: 145.5° E
Resolution: 370 meters/pixel
Scale: This image is approximately 377 km (234 miles) across.
Incidence Angle: 23.4°
Emission Angle: 20.8°
Phase Angle: 44.3°

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
System Mercury
Target Type Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Color, Map, Radio, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2012-06-18
Date in Caption 2011-07-05
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA15863
Identifier PIA15863