This collection of craters, shaped not unlike the iconic head of a certain cartoon mouse, was imaged by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft on June 3, 2012.
All together now: C-R-A, T-E-R… M-O-U-S-Eeeeee…
Acquired as part of MESSENGER’s extended mission to map Mercury’s surface in higher detail, the image above isn’t map-projected; that is, it’s not aligned with north as up. In reality the large crater that makes up Mickey’s “head” is north of the two “ears”.
Still, this is one big mouse head — the large crater in the center has a diameter of approximately 105 km (65 miles)!
Read more about this and see many other images of the first rock from the Sun on the MESSENGER mission site here.
Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!