Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
In one of the first images transmitted back to Earth following MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, an image of the entire departing planet, a spectacular and extensive system of rays can be seen. This NAC image shows a close-up view of the apparent source of those rays, a crater 110 kilometers (68 miles) in diameter located in the northern region of Mercury. The location of this bright crater is consistent with Earth-based radar images, which suggested a very fresh, rayed impact crater in this area. The amazing extent of this large ray system is visible for the first time in MESSENGER's newly acquired images.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington