Contact: Science Press Package
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Caption: This is a perspective view of ancient volcanic plains in the northern high latitudes of Mercury revealed by instruments onboard the MESSENGER spacecraft. These northern smooth plains comprise about 6 percent of the surface of Mercury and were created almost four billion years ago. Narrow sinuous ridges indicate that the plains were subsequently deformed tectonically. The broad white area is a rise in the plains that may indicate broad post-plains deformation. Prominent circular features are impact craters that post-date the plains. Altimetry data from the MESSENGER Laser Altimeter is superimposed on image data from the Mercury Dual Imaging System. Purple colors are low and white is high, spanning a range of about 2.3 km. Width of area spans about 1200 km. This image relates to a set of papers that appeared in the March 22, 2012, issue of Science Express, published by AAAS. One paper, by Maria T. Zuber at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues was titled, "Topography of the Northern Hemisphere of Mercury from MESSENGER Laser Altimetry." The other paper, by D.E. Smith at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues was titled, "Gravity Field and Internal Structure of Mercury from MESSENGER."
Credit: Image: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW-DTM/GSFC/MIT/Brown University. Rendering by James Dickson and Jim Head
Usage Restrictions: Please cite the owner of the image when publishing. This image may be freely used by reporters as part of news coverage, with proper attribution. Non-reporters must contact Science for permission.