Thursday, May 22, 2008

Xiao Zhao's Rays Paint Mercury's Surface

Xiao Zhao's Rays Paint Mercury's Surface
Release Date: May 19, 2008

Date Acquired: January 14, 2008

Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 108828473

Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)

Resolution: 500 meter/pixel (0.3 miles/pixel)

Scale: Xiao Zhao crater is 23 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter

Spacecraft Altitude: 19,760 kilometers (12,280 miles)

Of Interest: Recently named after the 12th century Chinese artist, Xiao Zhao crater on the central left side of this image is small in comparison with many other craters on Mercury and even with many other craters in this scene. However, Xiao Zhao's long bright rays make it a readily visible feature. The fresh, bright rays, which were created by material ejected outward during the impact event that formed the crater, indicate that Xiao Zhao is a relatively young crater on Mercury's surface.

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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