PIA17435: Mercury's Wings

Mercury’s Wings


Fresh and bright, this unnamed, elongated crater appears to have been formed by an impactor that struck the surface at an oblique angle , causing most of the ejecta to be thrown out unevenly around the crater (notice the bright rays above, below, and to the right of the crater). The marginally bright material in the bottom left corner is actually part of a ray from Hokusai, over 1380 km (about 860 mi.) away!

The planet Mercury is named after the Roman messenger god (identified with Hermes in Greek mythology). A key feature about the god Mercury is his winged sandals -- referenced here in the title of this image. Mercury's role as the god of communication and messages influenced the acronym for the MESSENGER spacecraft.

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 covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.

Date acquired: August 19, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 222275999, 222275995, 222275991
Image ID: 652862, 652861, 652860
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: 27.84°
Center Longitude: 30.73° E
Resolution: 116 meters/pixel
Scale: The small bright crater measures about 13 km (8 mi.) in long dimension.
Incidence Angle: 31.1°
Emission Angle: 37.2°
Phase Angle: 68.3°

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. MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

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 Color, Crater, Impact, Map, Radio
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2013-08-30
Date in Caption 2011-08-19
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17435
Identifier PIA17435