Prime Real Estate
Mercury's prime meridian, or 0° longitude, crosses through the left side of this image. The prime meridian was defined as the longitude where the Sun was directly overhead as Mercury passed through its first perihelion in the year 1950. The area was first seen by a spacecraft during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby and is located to the northwest of the impact crater Derain. The image here has been placed into a map projection with north to the top. The original image was binned on the spacecraft from its original 1024 × 1024 pixel size to 512 × 512. This type of image compression helps to reduce the amount of data that must be downlinked across interplanetary space from MESSENGER to the Deep Space Network on Earth.
Date acquired: March 30, 2011
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington