Messenger Takes Shocking “Cheesy” Photos of Mercury
“The planet Mercury is dotted with holes that appear to be unlike any other landform yet seen in the solar system, new pictures show.
High-resolution photographs from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft revealed the shallow, rimless, irregularly shaped depressions—similar to the holes in Swiss cheese—in impact craters all over Mercury.
The features are “widespread both in latitude and longitude,” said study co-author David Blewett, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
Dubbed hollows, the odd landforms can be tens of meters to a few kilometers wide, whereas the impact craters that contain them are tens of kilometers wide or bigger.
The hollows are often seen in clusters on the walls, floors, and peaks of the craters. Many hollows have smooth, flat bottoms and feature highly reflective material.
While Mercury had previously been thought of as a geologically dead planet, with few changes to its surface over the past billion years, “these [hollows] just look fresh,” Blewett added.
“I think there’s a distinct possibility that they’re active today.””