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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Machaut is the name of a crater, approximately 60 miles in diameter, first seen under high-sun conditions by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. The crater is named for the medieval French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut. This image shows a new view of Machaut taken during the Messenger's second flyby of Mercury Oct. 6, 2008. The slanting rays of the sun cast shadows that reveal numerous small craters and intricate features. The largest crater within Machaut appears to have been inundated by lava flows similar to those that have filled most of the floor of the larger feature. The adjacent, slightly smaller crater was formed at a later time and excavated material below the lava-formed surface. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington )
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