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Blasting Away
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Blasting Away

September 3, 2013
Date acquired: September 13, 2011 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 224423780 Image ID: 755249 Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Center Latitude: 38.00° Center Longitude: 72.66° E Resolution: 35 meters/pixel Scale: The largest crater is about 9 km (5.5 mi.) in diameter. Incidence Angle: 75.9° Emission Angle: 0.2° Phase Angle: 75.7° Of Interest: Located in Copland crater, this image consists of three small unnamed impact craters and a contractional ridge that was partly destroyed by the two superimposed impact craters at the center. At one point extensive volcanic eruptions took place within Copland, forming a smooth surface. As the lava cooled it contracted, causing fractures and ridges to form. Images such as this give scientists a better understanding of the processes that accompany flood volcanism on Mercury and other planetary bodies. 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. 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