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Ten Newly Named Impact Craters on Mercury
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Ten Newly Named Impact Craters on Mercury

May 20, 2010
  • Date of Mercury Flyby 1: January 14, 2008
  • Date of Mercury Flyby 2: October 6, 2008
  • Date of Mercury Flyby 3: September 29, 2009
  • Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • Scale: Mercury's diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles)

Of Interest: On March 3, 2010, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved names for 10 impact craters on Mercury. Read today's Mission News story for full details. The newly named craters are labeled here on a portion of a global mosaic of Mercury's surface and include:

• Bek, for Bek, Egyptian sculptor (active c. 1340 B.C.).
• Copland, for Aaron Copland, American composer (concert and film music) and pianist (1900-1990).
• Debussy, for Claude Debussy, French composer (1862-1918).
• Dominici, for (Suor) Maria de Dominici, Maltese sculptor and painter (1645-1703).
• Firdousi, for Abulkasim Firdousi, Tajik/Persian poet (c. 940-1020/30).
• Geddes, for Wilhelmina Geddes, Irish stained glass and graphic artist (1887-1955).
• Hokusai, for Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese painter, draftsman, and printmaker (1760-1849).
• Kipling, for Rudyard Kipling, English author (1865-1936).
• Picasso, for Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter and sculptor (1881-1973).
• Steichen, for Edward Steichen, American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator (1879-1973).

Craters on Mercury are named after “deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognized as art historically significant figures for more than 50 years.” The rules for naming other features on Mercury can be found here. The process of proposing a new crater name includes gathering fundamental information about the crater, such as the crater's central latitude, central longitude, and diameter. Justification is provided as to why the crater is of sufficient scientific importance to be named, and details are provided about the name choice, including sources that support the worthy contributions made by that individual. These 10 newly named craters join 42 others named since MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby in January 2008.