Mercury: Images of a Violent Planet

NASA's MESSGENGER spacecraft probes innermost planet in the solar system.

Mercury: Images of a Violent Planet

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About 58 minutes before the Messenger's closest approach to Mercury Oct. 6, 2008, this close-up image of a portion of Mercury's surface was captured -- imaged by spacecraft for the first time during this flyby. The features in the foreground (near the right side of the image) are close to the terminator, which is the line between the sunlit day side and dark night side of the planet. This makes shadows long and prominent. Two very long scarps, or cliffs, are visible in this region, and the scarps appear to crosscut each other. The easternmost scarp also cuts through a crater, showing that it formed after the impact that created the crater. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)
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