PIA18708: Crater Crash

Crater Crash


The surface of Mercury is dominated by impact craters, so it is not surprising that every so often one crater forms atop another. In this image, a small crater formed close to the southern margin of Mercury's northern volcanic plains , before being superposed by a slightly larger and deeper crater. This second impact removed over a third of the smaller, pre-existing crater. Yet both craters show evidence of post-formation modification, notably where their walls meet their floors. For example, a hill lies at the base of the right-hand-side wall of the larger crater. This is likely a landslide deposit that formed when material slumped off the wall.

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 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

Date acquired: July 10, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 47351839
Image ID: 6659618
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 52.3°
Center Longitude: 31.6° E
Resolution: 22 meters/pixel
Scale: The crater at center-right is approximately 10 km (6.2 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 54.1°
Emission Angle: 28.3°
Phase Angle: 45.2°
North is to the right in this image.

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. During the first two years of orbital operations, 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 Narrow Angle Camera (NAC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Impact, Map, Radio, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2014-09-15
Date in Caption 2014-07-10
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18708
Identifier PIA18708