This series of oblique images highlight the wall and exterior of the beautiful volcanic vent located to the northeast of Rachmaninoff basin and west of Copland crater. Layering can be seen along a portion of the wall and the exterior is smooth due to a blanket of fine particles of lava that were ejected explosively from the vent in a pyroclastic eruption. This vent is deeper than Earth's Grand Canyon.
Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 35.8°
Center Longitude: 69.3° E
Scale: The vent is approximately 36 km (22 miles) across
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury in April 2015.
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