‘Weird Terrain’ on Mercury (NASA, MESSENGER, 03/05/11)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
The large, smooth area in the upper left is the floor of the crater Petrarch. The more rugged terrain around Petrarch has an unusual "hilly and lineated" texture that Mariner 10 team members called "weird terrain" upon seeing it for the first time. This area may have been modified by converging seismic waves and/or ejecta from the formation of the Caloris basin, which is located on the opposite side of the planet.
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.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
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