Filling the Gap
One of MDIS's new campaigns during the extended mission is to obtain images of Mercury's north polar region. During MESSENGER's primary mission, Mercury's south polar region was repeatedly imaged and areas of permanent shadow were identified. During MESSENGER's extended mission, MDIS will make a dedicated effort to repeatedly image the surface near Mercury's north pole. MESSENGER's highly eccentric orbit, which passes close to Mercury's surface at high northern latitudes, provides an opportunity for particularly high-resolution images of Mercury's north polar region. This image helps to fill the small gap in coverage near the north pole that remained after the prime mission.
Date acquired: April 24, 2012
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington