This picture, taken only minutes after NASA's Mariner 10 made its closest approach to Mercury, is one of the highest resolution pictures obtained. Abundant craters in various stages of degradation dot the surface.
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Mercury at First Encounter Closest Approach

Taken only minutes after Mariner 10 made its closest approach to the planet Mercury on March 29, this is one of the highest resolution pictures obtained during the mission. Craters as small as 150 meters (500 feet) across can be seen. The picture, taken from a distance of about 5900 kilometers (3700 miles), measures 50 by 40 kilometers 931 by 25 miles). The relativity level surface contrasts with the abundant relief seen in some close-up views on the opposite side of the planet. The long, narrow area of hills and scarps to the left resembles ridges in the mare of Earth's moon. Abundant craters in various stages of degradation dot the surface.

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.

NOTE: This image was scanned from physical media.

Image details

ID#:
PIA02961

Date added:
2000-08-24

Target:
Mercury

Mission:
MVM

Spacecraft:
Mariner 10

Instruments:
Imaging Science Subsystem - Narrow Angle

Rating:



Views:
2,490

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA02961.tif (0.92 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA02961.jpg (0.16 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL