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A Study in Dark and Light
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A Study in Dark and Light
Release Date: December 3, 2008
Topics: Crater Rays, Craters with Dark Material, Mercury Flyby 2,

Update: The bright crater in the upper left of this image was given the name de Graft in July 2009.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131771993
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 260 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel)
Scale: This image is about 260 kilometers wide (160 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 10,200 kilometers (6,300 miles)

Of Interest: Visible near the top of this NAC image are two distinctive craters, imaged for the first time during MESSENGER's second Mercury flyby. The crater at upper left has light-colored material around its rim and on its floor. In contrast, the larger crater to the right is surrounded by a halo of dark material. Craters with distinctive light and dark materials were also seen during the mission's first Mercury flyby, such as the craters Poe and Sander located within the Caloris basin. (The crater Sander was named in April 2008, while the name of Poe just recently received official approval.) The dark and light materials likely represent rocks with different chemical and mineralogical compositions and as such offer an opportunity to learn about variations in the components that make up Mercury's surface.

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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