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A Christmas Crater from Mercury

The crater at the center of this image is named Dickens, after Charles Dickens, the English novelist who lived from 1812 to 1870. Among Dickens’ famous works is A Christmas Carol, the story of Bob Cratchit, his family, and horrible boss Mr. Scrooge. Scientists studying Mercury might consider the Mariner 10 mission to be Christmas Past, MESSENGER to be Christmas Present, and the European Bepi-Colombo mission to be Christmas Yet To Come.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS’s high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury’s surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.

Flickr / gsfc »