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John Lennon Memorialized with a Crater on Mercury

Mercury's Lennon crater as seen from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Institution

Mercury’s Lennon crater as seen from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft in January 2013.
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Institution

33 years after his death, John Lennon’s name has been officially given to a crater on Mercury. Imagine that.

The 95 km (59 mile) wide Lennon crater is one of ten newly named craters on the planet, joining 114 other craters named since NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft’s first Mercury flyby in January 2008.

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Evidence of Ancient Aliens? Nah, It’s Just Pareidolia (Again)

A curiously human shape rises from the surface of Mercury in this MESSENGER image

A curiously human shape rises from the surface of Mercury in this MESSENGER image

You’ve heard of the Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars, now meet the Mercury Man!

This image, obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft in July 2011, shows a portion of the floor of Caloris basin — the remnants of an enormous impact that occurred on Mercury nearly 4 billion years ago. Rising from the surface (and dramatically lit by sunlight from the west) is what appears to be a humanoid form. Is this some ancient structure built by an alien race, aimed our way in the hopes of us one day discovering it?

Nah, it’s just pareidolia.

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Incredible Images of Earth from Saturn and Mercury

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Our planet as seen from Cassini at Saturn and MESSENGER at Mercury

What does the Earth and Moon look like from other planets in the solar system? Just more pretty little lights in the dark…

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Mercury’s Cratered Crescent (in Color!)

A view of Mercury from MESSENGER’s October 2008 flyby (NASA / JHUAPL / Gordan Ugarkovic)

A view of Mercury from MESSENGER’s October 2008 flyby (NASA / JHUAPL / Gordan Ugarkovic)

Every now and then a new gem of a color-composite appears in the Flickr photostream of Gordan Ugarkovic, and this one is the latest to materialize.

This is a view of Mercury as seen by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft during a flyby in October 2008. The image is a composite of twenty separate frames acquired with MESSENGER’s narrow-angle camera from distances ranging from 18,900 to 17,700 kilometers and colorized with color data from the spacecraft’s wide-angle camera. (North is to the right.)

Click the image for a closer look, and for an even bigger planet-sized version click here. Beautiful!

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Hidden Ice Found on Mercury!

MESSENGER's latest image of Mercury

MESSENGER image of Mercury

Who says Mercury’s too hot to be really cool? Even three times closer to the Sun than we are, lacking atmosphere and with scorching daytime temperatures of 425 ºC (800 ºF), Mercury still has places more than cold enough to hide ice. This is the most recent announcement from the MESSENGER mission team: (very nearly) confirmed ice on the first rock from the Sun!

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Mercury’s Sufferingly Sulf’rous Surface

The rugged terrain surrounding Mercury’s Vivaldi basin may be rich in sulfur

Named for the 17th-century Venetian composer, the southern half of Mercury’s Vivaldi basin is seen in this image acquired on August 26 by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft. The 213-km (132-mile) -wide crater’s smooth floor is contrasted by the incredibly rugged terrain beyond its outermost ring — a result of the ejected material that was flung out from the impact site and emphasized by the low angle of illumination.

Recent findings from the MESSENGER mission have revealed variations in Mercury’s surface composition due to volcanism that occurred at different times, as well as a surprising concentration of elements rich in magnesium and sulfur — much more, in fact, than any of the other terrestrial planets.

Read more here.

Rhapsody on an Impact Event: Mercury’s Rachmaninoff Crater

The peak-ringed interior of Mercury’s Rachmaninoff crater

Rachmaninoff is a spectacular double-ring basin on Mercury, and this color view is one of the highest resolution color image sets acquired of the basin’s floor. Visible around the edges of the frame is a circle of mountains that make up Rachmaninoff’s peak ring structure. The color of the basin’s floor inside the peak-ring differs from the darker material outside of it, and contains concentric troughs formed by extension (pulling apart) of the surface, likely as the molten surface solidified and cooled in the wake of the initial impact event.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation by MESSENGER on July 31, 2012. See a wider-angle view of the 140-km-wide Rachmaninoff crater here.

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

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