PIA18626: Peaking into the Shadows

Peaking into the Shadows


Today's image features Laxness , a crater on Mercury's northern plains named for Halldör Laxness, a twentieth-century Icelandic writer. The overlain MLA track bisecting Laxness reveals the crater's topography, which is difficult to resolve in images because of the crater's persistently shadowed interior. On the right of the image is a cross-section of Laxness showing how the crater's depth changes from point A to point B. The MLA data show that Laxness is a complex crater with a central peak (light blue). While the crater's central peak is not obvious in the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), it is clearly distinguishable to MLA.

Instrument: Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
Crater's Center Latitude: 83.3°
Crater's Center Longitude: 310.0° E
Scale: The crater has a diameter of 25.9 km (16.1 miles)

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 Laser Altimeter (MLA)
Extra Keywords Color, Crater, Infrared, Radio, Shadow
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2014-07-23
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18626
Identifier PIA18626