Scientists use images from NASA's Messenger spacecraft to create these global views of Mercury, the most complete maps ever. The images were released on Feb. 22, 2013.
This colorful view of Mercury was produced by using images from the color base map imaging campaign during MESSENGER's primary mission. Image released Feb. 18, 2013.
This colorful view of Mercury was produced by using images from the color base map imaging campaign during MESSENGER's primary mission. These colors are not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but rather the colors enhance the chemical, mineralogical, and physical differences between the rocks that make up Mercury's surface. Image released Feb 18, 2013.
This is a still image taken from a rotating movie of Mercury's Rachmaninoff impact basin. Image released 15, 2013.
This striking view of Mercury is located near the rim of the large Caloris basin. The rim of Caloris is marked by hills and mountains, some of which can be seen in the distance in this image. Image released Feb. 18, 2013.
Seen here on Mars is a view of Ahmad Baba, a classic mercurian peak-ring basin. Ahmad (Ahmed) Baba was a West African writer who lived from 1556-1627. Image released Feb. 11, 2013.
Mercury's cratered southern hemisphere is seen here. The craters Magritte, Neruda, and Sher-Gil can be spotted within this scene. North is to the top-left of the image. Image released Feb. 8. 2013.
At the bottom of this image of Mercury is a part of the rim of crater Stieglitz. Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer who lived from 1864 to 1946. His wife, painter Georgia O'Keeffe, is honored by a crater on the planet Venus. Image released Feb. 14, 2013.
Topography of a portion of Mercury from 75° N northward to the pole, in shaded relief and color-coded by elevation. The map is centered at 85°N on the 110-km-diameter crater Prokofiev, whose interior lies more than 5 km below the topographic datum. The north pole lies to the left of and below the smaller craters Tolkien and Kandinsky. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
Shown in red are areas of Mercury’s north polar region that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. Image coverage, and mapping of shadows, is incomplete near the pole. The polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar are in yellow (from Image 2.1), and the background image is the mosaic of MESSENGER images from Image 2.2. This comparison indicates that all of the polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar are located in areas of persistent shadow as documented by MESSENGER images. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
The radar image of Mercury’s north polar region from Image 2.1 is shown superposed on a mosaic of MESSENGER images of the same area. All of the larger polar deposits are located on the floors or walls of impact craters. Deposits farther from the pole are seen to be concentrated on the north-facing sides of craters. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
Perspective view of Mercury’s north polar region with the radar-bright regions shown in yellow. Image released Nov. 28, 2012.
Wrinkle ridges and depressed troughs combine in this depressed crater in the Goethe basin on Mercury. The troughs, up to 2 kilometers wide, crosscut the outer ridge ring.
This Messenger photo of Mercury shows wrinkle ridges around a network of troughs that formed when the volcanic plains were stretched apart. The wrinkle-ridge ring, about 100 km in diameter, is formed over the rim of a so-called ghost crater.
The central peaks of this complex crater have formed in such a way that it resembles a smiling face. This image taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft is oriented so north is toward the bottom. Image released Nov. 9, 2012.
Perspective view of ancient volcanic plains in the northern high latitudes of Mercury revealed by NASA's Messenger spacecraft. Purple colors are low and white is high, spanning a range of about 2.3 km. Width of area spans about 1200 km. Each line is 5 degrees in latitude and longitude.
Craters on Mercury appear to form the image of Mickey Mouse. This scene lies to the northwest of the recently named crater Magritte, in Mercury's south. The image is not map projected; the larger crater actually sits to the north of the two smaller ones. Date acquired: June 3, 2012.
Ancient volcanic plains in the northern high latitudes of Mercury revealed by NASA's Messenger spacecraft. Purple colors are low and white is high, spanning a range of about 1 km. Width of area spans about 250 km.
Craters photographed by MESSENGER spacecraft may appear to resemble a familiar television character, a favorite of children. Image acquired August 29, 2012, and released Oct. 12. [Full Story ]
This elevation map of the Beethoven basin is color-coded to show the height of features on Mercury's surface. Mercury lacks a "sea level", so the zero-point reference elevation is defined to be the mean planetary radius of 2440 km. Blue areas, such as within Bello crater on the floor of Beethoven, have negative elevations. The red and white areas to the southwest are more than 8 km higher than the lowest points in this area. This image was released on Feb. 27, 2012.
One year ago, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury. On March 18, 2012, MESSENGER completed its one-year primary mission and began a yearlong extended mission that includes a number of new scientific observation campaigns. The image shown here was acquired yesterday and is the first of MESSENGER's extended mission. Image released on March 18, 2012.
Although Mercury is replete with impact craters, it can be difficult to gauge their size in a meaningful way. This oblique image shows an unnamed crater that lies within the Rachmaninoff basin. It is a simple crater, characterized by its bowl-like shape, and lacks the central peak or peak ring of larger, complex craters. Image releases on Feb. 9, 2012.