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A Flood of Rock
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A Flood of Rock

July 31, 2013
Date acquired: April 18, 2013 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 8598032, 8598023, 8598029 Image ID: 3905074, 3905071, 3905073 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: 66.83° Center Longitude: 276.7° E Resolution: 312 meters/pixel Scale: The image is about 240 km across (149 miles). Incidence Angle: 78.3° Emission Angle: 50.3° Phase Angle: 28.0° Of Interest: The northern plains of Mercury are home to many volcanically flooded craters such as Monteverdi, which occupies part of the lower edge of this image. The plains have abundant wrinkle ridges and fresh craters. This image was acquired as part of MDIS's minimum-phase-angle color campaign. Near the north polar region, the incidence angle (measured from the vertical) is always fairly high because the Sun is low on the horizon. The minimum-phase-angle color campaign acquires images under conditions that minimize the shadows in an image by viewing the surface as nearly as possible from the same direction as the Sun's illumination, which minimizes the phase angle. Images are acquired through five of the WAC's narrow-band color filters, for regions north of 60° N, at an average resolution of 500 meters/pixel. The minimum-phase-angle color campaign began in March 2013. 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. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington