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A Whiter Shade of Mercury
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Monday, Dec. 9, 2013: MESSENGER spacecraft obtained this image of Mercury’s surface showing a high-reflectance area seemingly confined to a region of lower elevation bounded by linear scarp (cliff) segments. Such diffuse bright areas sometimes relate to the deposition of small secondary craters and ray segments by a relatively recent impact crater. However, regional images show no rayed craters in the immediate vicinity (except Han Kan). So a compositional difference might account for the difference in the albedo (brightness) of the material in the low-lying area. Are the scarps the result of vertical movement along faults, or were they formed by secondary crater chains? Researchers also have yet to explain the hollows on the central peak of the crater at upper left, and the smooth impact melt on the floor of the terrace-walled crater just below center.
— Tom Chao
— Tom Chao