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MESSENGER Views an Intriguing Crater
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MESSENGER Views an Intriguing Crater
Release Date: January 20, 2008
Topics: Mercury Flyby 1, NAC, Volcanism

Update: This pit-floor crater was named Beckett in November 2008.

MESSENGER's Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired this view of Mercury’s surface illuminated obliquely from the right by the Sun. The unnamed crater (52 kilometers, or 31 miles, in diameter) in the center of the image displays a telephone-shaped collapse feature on its floor. Such a collapse feature could reflect past volcanic activity at and just below the surface of this particular crater. MESSENGER team members are examining closely the more than 1200 images returned from this flyby for other surface features that can provide clues to the geological history of the innermost planet.

The crater is located in the southern hemisphere of Mercury, on the side that was not viewed by Mariner 10 during any of its three flybys (1974-1975). This scene was imaged while MESSENGER was departing from Mercury from a distance of about 19,300 kilometers (12,000 miles), about 1 hour after the spacecraft's closest encounter with Mercury. The image is of a region approximately 236 kilometers (147 miles) across, and craters as small as 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) can be seen.

Mission Elapsed Time (MET) of image: 108828208

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.

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