‘Weird Terrain’ on Mercury (NASA, MESSENGER, 03/05/11)

‘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

More about the MESSENGER mission to Mercury:


For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy:

View the Mercury MESSENGER photoset:

17 thoughts on “‘Weird Terrain’ on Mercury (NASA, MESSENGER, 03/05/11)

  1. I find it amazing that the simple heat shield protects Messenger’s intricate instruments from the extreme temperatures around Mercury (800+F). Great Photos!

  2. Truly amazing! I am old enough to remember getting a man out of the Earth’s atmosphere – anniversary just passed! Now to have a craft so close to Mercury is just mind-blowing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.