This animation shows wide-angle camera images of Mercury’s south polar region taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft over one complete Mercury solar day (176 Earth days). This dataset enabled the illumination conditions at Mercury’s south polar region to be quantified, producing the map seen at the end of the movie and provided as a separate image. The map is colored on the basis of the percentage of time that a given area is sunlit; areas appearing black in the map are regions of permanent shadow. The large crater near Mercuryâs south pole, Chao Meng-Fu, has a diameter of 180 km.
Video Credit: NASA