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A Rupes and a Ray
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A Rupes and a Ray
Release Date: November 24, 2008
Topics: Crater Rays, Mercury Flyby 2, , Scarps and Rupes

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131771608
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 210 meters/pixel (0.13 miles/pixel)
Scale: This image is about 210 kilometers wide (130 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 8,100 kilometers (5,000 miles)

Of Interest: In the lower center of this NAC image, a scarp cuts through two craters (blue arrows). The fact that the scarp transects the craters indicates that it formed after the two crater-forming impact events. Many similar scarps, referred to as rupes, have been identified on Mercury, and rupes are believed to have formed when the interior of Mercury cooled and the planet shrank slightly. The white stripe that cuts diagonally across this NAC image (red arrows) is part of a system of rays emanating from a bright, relatively young crater to the north. This impressive ray system extends for large distances over Mercury's surface, as seen in the global image captured during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby.

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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