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Comma for Your Thoughts
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Comma for Your Thoughts
Release Date: August 20, 2012
Topics: Mosaics, , , Picasso, Pits

Date acquired: July 04, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 249871949, 249872007, 249872064, 249929575, 249929635, 249929693
Image ID: 2135709, 2135710, 2135711, 2139713, 2139714, 2139715
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 3.35°
Center Longitude: 50.60° E
Resolution: 65 meters/pixel
Scale: Picasso crater is 133 km (83 miles) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 63.8°
Emission Angle: 3.2°
Phase Angle: 60.6°

Of Interest: Picasso crater's comma-shaped pit is fully shown in this monochrome targeted mosaic. Picasso was first seen at close range in MESSENGER's third flyby and since then has continued to be an object of study due to its unusual floor formation. This type of pit has been seen in various locations around Mercury, and is hypothesized to be a location where subsurface magma has evacuated, causing the surface to cave in.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

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. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.

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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