Orange Is the New Blue

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington2015-04-16


Washington, DC, United States

Measurements from NASA MESSENGER MLA instrument during the spacecraft greater than four-year orbital mission have mapped the topography of Mercury northern hemisphere in great detail.

This enhanced color mosaic shows (from left to right) Munch (61 km/38 mi.), Sander (52 km/32 mi.), and Poe (81 km/50 mi.) craters, which lie in the northwest portion of the Caloris basin. The smooth volcanic plains that fill the Caloris basin appear orange in this image. All three craters are superposed on these volcanic plains and have excavated low-reflectance material, which appears blue in this image, from the subsurface. Hollows, typically associated with low-reflectance material, dot the rims of Munch and Poe and cover the floor of Sander.

These images were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. 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 is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.

Date acquired: July 03, 2011, July 04, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218204186, 218204190, 218204194, 218246487, 218246491, 218246495
Image ID: 458397, 458398, 458399, 460433, 460434, 460435
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 42° N
Center Longitude: 154° E
Projection: Equirectangular
Resolution: 239 meters/pixel
Scale: Munch crater is approximately 61 km (38 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 43°, 42°
Emission Angle: 35°, 13°
Phase Angle: 79°, 55°



  • Title: Orange Is the New Blue
  • Creator: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
  • Date Created: 2015-04-16
  • Rights: JPL

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