Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Mercury's north polar topography from MESSENGER

Mercury's north polar topography from MESSENGER
Mercury's north polar topography from MESSENGER Measurements from MESSENGER's laser altimeter instrument mapped the topography of Mercury's northern hemisphere in great detail. This is an interpolated shaded relief map of these data. The lowest regions are shown in purple, and the highest regions are shown in red. The difference in elevation between the lowest and highest regions shown here is roughly 10 kilometers! Among the prominent features visible here are the smooth northern volcanic plains and the enigmatic northern rise. The low-lying craters near the north pole host radar-bright materials, thought to be water ice. Linear artifacts can be seen in some areas of this map. These are due to individual MLA tracks that need minor adjustments in order to fit the rest of the data. Crossover analysis and better knowledge of the spacecraft position can be used to adjust these tracks and improve the map. NASA / JHUAPL / CIW

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