Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 6, 2013

Relatively Young Lobate Scarp
Relatively Young Lobate Scarp

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.

In contrast to other similar images, not all the so-called "Lobate Scarps" are necessarily large; in the case that is pictured here (notice that the field of view in this frame is about 29 Km - such as approx. 18 miles - from left to right), the Scarp is, in fact, quite smaller - both in terms of Length and Relief (---> Height) - than, for instance, the very well known Discovery Rupes. However, this Scarp too has, in a way, contributed to the shortening of Mercury's Crust.

This specific Scarp cross-cuts an Unnamed, approx. 65-Km-diameter (such as about 40,36 miles) Impact Crater, which is filled with smooth Plains, and located just North of Mussorgskij Crater. Whether this Scarp is younger than Discovery Rupes - and so it has not had as much time to accumulate a Tectonic Deformation -, or if, instead, it did not shorten the Crust as much as other Scarps did for other reasons, is and, most likely, shall remain a mistery. In any case, and in our opiniom, as IPF, the relative scarcity of Impact Craters (located in the vicinities of the Scarp) makes us reasonaly believe that the Surface of this Region here - including the Scarp itself, of course - is (always relatively speaking) more recent than many other (better yet: most of the) Mercurian Regions.

Date acquired: September, 11th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 21213842
Image ID: 4802121
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 35,40° North
Center Longitude: 262,00° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 60,59° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 29,41° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 31,91°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 28,68°

This frame (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17743) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected 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 Mercurian Impact Crater "Hopper"), 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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