The width of this image view is about 250 kilometers (150 miles).
Topographic information from the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is used to colorize a image mosaic of Goethe basin, located in Mercury’s northern region. The purple colors are low and white is the highest; the total range of heights shown in this view is about 1 kilometer. Goethe basin is home to a variety of interesting features, including ghost craters with graben, wrinkle ridges that outline the basin, and dark craters that host radar-bright materials.
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’s formal data collection mission began on April 4, 2011. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. The primary mission was completed on March 17, 2012. MESSENGER then extended its mission, with plans for acquiring more than 80,000 additional images. MESSENGER achieved 100% mapping of Mercury on March 6, 2013, and completed its first year-long extended mission on March 17, 2013. Its second extended mission is scheduled to conclude in March 2015.
Image released March 20, 2012. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/Brown University