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MESSENGER Finds Where X Marks the Spot on Mercury

An unnamed crater on Mercury taken by MESSENGER's Narrow Angle Camera. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Buried treasure on Mercury? If so, I’d look here first. This image shows a currently unnamed crater with an “X” emblazoned on it. The perpendicular lines that cross the crater are secondary crater chains caused by ejecta from two primary impacts outside of the field of view, according to MESSENGER scientists. MESSENGER has been in orbit of Mercury since mid-March of this year, and its Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) pivot and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) spotted this unusual landform. MESSENGER will be mapping more than 90% of Mercury’s surface as part of a high-resolution surface morphology base map that will be created with MDIS.

See more about this image on the MESSENGER website.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • fernando April 28, 2011, 4:20 PM

    That´s the X Planet!!!

  • Merry Me April 28, 2011, 5:27 PM

    Oh, so 2012 is NOT a fake after all. 😉

    (Loved the comment! Clever.)

  • Tim McDaniel April 28, 2011, 6:03 PM

    It’s Planet X, source of Illudium Phosdex, the shaving-cream atom! Claimed by Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century!

  • Tim McDaniel April 28, 2011, 6:09 PM

    It’s not 2 lines. There are at least 5 lines. It’s a PENTAGRAM that’s been partially erased. MERCURY was the home of SATAN and he has BROKEN OUT!


  • Ed Myers April 28, 2011, 6:57 PM

    You’re all wrong! That obviously “perfect” X can only be the remains of the last Mercurian city! You can clearly see the interconnected domes and the coffee shop on the end. Expect it to be gone soon, as “they” will be nuking it in order to cover up the existence of non-human civilization in the solar system. I’m sure there will be some unexplainable “disappearances” from NASA and astronomers soon.

  • Question April 29, 2011, 5:45 AM

    maybe it’s the roman numeral 10. what would nostra think?

  • paul.swanson April 29, 2011, 8:35 PM

    It’s a giant SpaceX ad!