Click to enlargeMessenger Colorful Group of Craters Photo

Buy this Colorful Group of Craters space photo. High quality Mercury Messenger picture, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph PIA16907. Wide variety of sizes.

This oblique view highlights, from top to bottom, Balzac, Phidias,Tyagaraja, Stevenson, and Zeami craters. While named craters are still sparse across much of Mercury, this region was observed by Mariner 10, allowing for plenty of time to propose names. In Mariner 10 images of Mercury, craters like Tyagaraja and Zeami were described as hosting bright floor deposits, but the relatively low resolution at which they were imaged did not allow for a more detailed analysis. We now know that craters such as these host hollows.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest- resolution color images that are possible.

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. MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

Date acquired: November 26, 2012
Image Addition Date: March 28, 2013
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

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