One of the most captivating views acquired during MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby was of the crater Apollodorus surrounded by the radiating troughs of Pantheon Fossae. The team nicknamed the combined feature as "the spider." Since then, MESSENGER has acquired many other striking views of this unique feature located near the center of Caloris basin. Although Apollodorus of Damascus (the namesake of the crater) is thought to be the architect of the Pantheon in Rome (the namesake of the fossae), the crater Apollodorus is thought to be unrelated to the creation of Pantheon Fossae.
Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 39.1°
Center Longitude: 164.3° E
Scale: Apollodorus has a diameter of 42 kilometers (26 miles)
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.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.