This is a mosaic of Mercury.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.

Surface Features of Mercury

The surface of Mercury has numerous interesting features, including a variety of craters, ridges, and terrains ranging from heavily cratered to nearly crater free. These features, and their location across the known planet surface, helps us to understand the evolution of the planet. Craters on Mercury are named mainly after artists, while plains have generally been named after mythological and religious figures. Several features are named after famous astonomers and observatories. Several different types of craters can be seen, including young craters in otherwise smooth terrain, new craters on top of old craters, craters with peaks in the center, and craters with lines or "rays" of bright material pointing out from the central crater. Craters ranging in sizes from 100 meters to 1300 km across can be seen in the Mariner 10 images. Although volcanoes have not been identified, the smooth plains on Mercury indicate that molten material at various times in the past filled in low lying areas. The wrinkle ridges that are scattered across the planet suggest that the planet cooled down and shrunk in the past, causing squeezing and lifting of the surface. The Caloris basin is the largest single feature on the planet, probably caused by the impact of a large meteorite. It's interesting to note that one side of the planet seems to be more heavily cratered than the other side, where relatively smooth plains (near the Caloris Basin) are more common.

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