Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 29, 2014

Enterprise Rupes and more
Enterprise Rupes and more

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

A portion of the large and long Enterprise Rupes, which cuts across the beautiful Rembrandt Impact Basin, can be seen at the top of the image (taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on July, 29, 2014 and approx. 500 Km - such as about 310,5 miles - across) that is featured here. Below the Enterprise Rupes, as you can see, there is a Trough (---> a narrow and long Channel-like Surface Feature), that has been filled in with Smooth Plains Material that formed and cooled off - most likely - after a "hot rain" of Ejecta and Impact Melt that came from the Rembrandt Basin Impact Event which scoured the Mercurian Surface and created something that is commonly known, in Planetary Science, as "Basin Sculpture". The also very famous Belgica Rupes can be easily recognized at the bottom of the frame.

Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 48998458
Image ID: 6776363
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 42,53° South
Center Longitude: 70,97° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 75,9° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 14,1° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)

Emission Angle (at center frame): 63,1° (meaning that the Spacecraft was very far away from being perpendicular to the imaged Surface at the time when the picture was taken)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle (at center frame): 102,3°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18761) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, magnified to aid the visibility of the details and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Surface of Mercury), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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