July 27, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
This scene is 96 km (59.7 mi.) across
North is up in this image.
If there are two things you should remember, it's not to cross a Hutt, and that Mercury's surface can throw up all kinds of surprises. In this image, a portion of the terrain surrounding the northern margin of the Caloris basin
hosts an elevated block in the shape of a certain carbonite-encased smuggler who can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. This block may be part of the original surface that pre-dates the formation of Caloris, which was shaped
by material ejected during the basin-forming event. The act of seeing a meaningful shape in random landforms is a form of pareidolia—and has been seen for Mercury more than a few times before
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. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
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.