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A Crater in Closeup
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A Crater in Closeup

August 18, 2011
  • Date acquired: August 01, 2011
  • Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 220677117
  • Image ID: 577219
  • Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
  • Center Latitude: 60.18°
  • Center Longitude: 141.9° E
  • Resolution: 58 meters/pixel
  • Scale: This crater is approximately 39 km (24 mi) in diameter.
  • Incidence Angle: 81.2°
  • Emission Angle: 0.8°
  • Phase Angle: 80.5°


Of Interest: This image features a crater situated at the edge of the larger Oskison crater located in the plains north of Caloris basin. Due to MESSENGER's highly elliptical orbit, MDIS's Wide Angle Camera is capable of capturing higher resolution images in Mercury's northern hemisphere, such as this 58 meters per pixel view. A detailed look at the crater reveals its terraced walls, smooth floor, and its superposition on Oskison's shadowed rim.

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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