MESSENGER Finds Where X Marks the Spot on Mercury

by Nancy Atkinson on April 28, 2011

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.

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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