Saturday, April 23, 2011

MESSENGER - Mars Orbit #73

The MESSENGER spacecraft has been in orbit for over 36 days now (at approx 2 orbits/day, this is orbit 72+).  Stunning images are being taken at visible wavelengths.  Here is one of the latest

Click to Enlarge -
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory/
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Date acquired: April 15-17, 2011
 Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
 Center Latitude: 24.4°
 Center Longitude: 264.6° E
 Resolution: 250 meters/pixel
 Scale: The crater in the center of the image is about 105 kilometers (65 miles) in diameter

Of Interest: This image is a mosaic of multiple NAC images. The crater in the center is being crossed by a scarp, such as those seen at Camoes and Thakur.
These images were 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.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

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