MLA Surface Reflectance
Surface reflectance (relative to perfect Lambertian scattering) measured by MLA from profiles taken at incidence angles less than 30° for Mercury's north polar region. The orange/red areas are those with more than 50% higher reflectance than the regional average, consistent with surface exposures of water ice. Dark areas contain material of unusually low reflectance, about half the typical reflectance of Mercury. The dark areas are believed to be an insulating material that is stable to somewhat higher temperatures than water ice and protects the underlying ice deposits from thermal loss. The values are nearest-neighbor averages. Areas having no data within 2 km are shaded gray.
Date acquired: November 29, 2012
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington