Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 15, 2013

Slump Deposits
Slump Deposits

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

The Unnamed Impact Crater visible in this image taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft shows prominent "Slump Deposits" that were created when the Crater Walls collapsed and, perhaps, some portion of the Ejecta fell back down inside the Crater itself. These events, according to NASA Scientists, probably occurred immediately (or just a VERY little time) after the Crater formation. If you look closely, you can also see that the Inner Rim appears to host small patches of Hollows. One clue to understand the Hollow formation is that they appear to form, preferentially (but NOT always!), on Sunward-facing Slopes (and since this Impact Crater is located at a high Northern Latitude, its Northern (Inner) Wall gets the most exposure to the Sun). This extra heating may enhance the sudden loss (---> escape) of the Volatiles that are present in and near the subsurface, thus creating those strange, bright Features that are now commonly known as "Hollows" (---> litterally: a "hollow" is a place that once was full of "something" - i.e.: Ice, Gases and/or other Volatiles like Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Hydrogen, Methane and Sulfur Dioxide - and that now has become empty).

Date acquired: October 12th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 258544256
Image ID: 2752092
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 59,38° North
Center Longitude: 307,20° East
Resolution: 16 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 71,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 18,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 50,2°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 122,1°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft Map Projected b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16948) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mercury), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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