Mariner 10 took this picture (FDS 27465) of the densely cratered surface of Mercury when the spacecraft was 18,200 kilometers (8085 miles) from the planet on March 29. The dark line across top of picture is a "dropout" of a few TV lines of data. At lower left, a portion of a 61 kilometer (38 mile) crater shows a flow front extending across the crater floor and filling more than half of the crater. The smaller, fresh crater at center is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) in diameter. Craters as small as one kilometer (about one-half mile) across are visible in the picture.
The Mariner 10 mission, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, explored Venus in February 1974 on the way to three encounters with Mercury-in March and September 1974 and in March 1975. The spacecraft took more than 7,000 photos of Mercury, Venus, the Earth and the Moon.