Uncharted Territory
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Uncharted Territory

August 18, 2011
  • Date acquired: July 20, 2011
  • Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 219646866
  • Image ID: 527953
  • Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • Center Latitude: 6.70°
  • Center Longitude: 38.52° E
  • Resolution: 193 meters/pixel
  • Scale: This crater is about 113 km (70 miles) in diameter
  • Incidence Angle: 71.4°
  • Emission Angle: 15.1°
  • Phase Angle: 56.2°

Of Interest: This image, captured by the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), shows a crater in a region of Mercury not seen by Mariner 10. This crater was first imaged during MESSENGER's Mercury flybys, but this is the first image to reveal its detailed morphology. The crater's name will be chosen in accordance with a set of rules established by the International Astronomical Union (available here). Craters on Mercury are named after deceased artists, musicians, painters or authors who have made outstanding contributions to their fields and who have been considered a historically significant figure for at least 50 years.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.

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 is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.

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