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Mercury's Xiao Zhao Crater | by Lights In The Dark
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Mercury's Xiao Zhao Crater

Named after a 12th century Chinese artist, Xiao Zhao is a relatively young 15-mile-wide crater on Mercury. Its extensive, bright rays indicate its youthfulness, as the lighter material ejected by the initial impact has not yet had enough time to weather and grow dark.


Of course, on Mercury "young" may still mean several billion years old!


This color image, acquired by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, was made with a combination of 8 images acquired on December 29, 2011 with the Wide-Angle Camera (WAC) in different wavelengths, some of which would be visible to the human eye.


Eastman Crater is the larger one just to the right of Xiao Zhao, which is southwest in this view.


Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

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Taken on February 9, 2012