Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 20:10 EDT
Ups and Downs
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Ups and Downs

October 3, 2013
Release Date: September 30, 2013 Topics: NAC, Named Craters Date acquired: July 24, 2012 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 251577944 Image ID: 2256593 Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Center Latitude: -52.20° Center Longitude: 125.3° E Resolution: 142 meters/pixel Scale: Neruda crater is 112 km (69 mi) in diameter Incidence Angle: 80.4° Emission Angle: 2.4° Phase Angle: 78.0° Of Interest: Today's image features Neruda crater, named for the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The crater exhibits several central peaks punctuated by a more recent, small crater, resulting in a rugged profile of ups and downs if one were to traverse the crater floor. Similarly, the crater's namesake Neruda experienced a number of ups and downs in his life, from success as a poet, through poverty, war and ultimately alleged poisoning. 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