Two Kinds of Small Craters
This image covers an area of ridged plains to the east of the rim of Hokusai crater on Mercury. The crater's bright rays and ejecta cross the location. The image has higher spatial resolution and a more favorable viewing angle than the coverage of Hokusai from MESSENGER's second flyby and is just one of many images of this impact crater and its environs being collected as part of commissioning activities during MESSENGER's first orbits around Mercury. Here we see chains of small secondary craters that were formed by chunks of debris thrown out of Hokusai during its formation, surrounded by more diffuse high-reflectance rays. A very small, very bright, very fresh (young) primary impact crater and its ejecta blanket light up the top-middle part of the image. North is approximately to the top in this image.
Date acquired: March 30, 2011
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington