Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 17, 2013

Alvin Rupes (CTX Frame)
Alvin Rupes (CTX Frame)

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.

Lobate Scarps are one of the most common types of Landform that can be found on the Planet Mercury and, frequently, they cross-cut Impact Craters of all sizes. In this image, taken by the NASA - Messenger Spacecraft on July, 3, 2013, we can see one of these Lobate Scarps: Alvin Rupes.


Alvin Rupes is one of only a very small subset of Scarps which are accompanied by thin, Linear Depressions that are located on their Upper Surfaces. However, another possibility is that these specific Surface Features (including the ones visible here, at 12 o'clock of the frame) are actually "Graben" (---> such as "Fault-bounded Troughs") like, for example, those that can be seen inside Caloris Basin. If this assumption were correct, then these particular Graben should have to be classified among the very few Surface Structures which are known to exist outside of "Volcanic Environments" (such as, in particular, Volcanically Flooded Impact Basins and Craters). Last, but not least (and just to give you an idea of the actual dimensions of the Landscape that you are looking at), consider that the Major Impact Crater located near the center of the frame is about 12 Km (such as approx. 7,45 miles) across.


Date acquired: July, 3rd, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 15167012
Image ID: 4372157
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 7,80° North
Center Longitude: 151,10° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 75,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was very high in the Sky, such as about 14,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 12,6°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 88,2°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON-Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17458) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that an average 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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