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Pits Picasso and Mercurys History
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Pits, Picasso, and Mercury's History

July 8, 2010

Of Interest: The crater pictured in the center of this image was recently named Picasso, in honor of the Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). This crater, first imaged during MESSENGER's third Mercury flyby, has drawn scientific attention because of the large, arc-shaped pit located on the eastern side of its floor. Similar pits have been discovered on the floors of several other Mercury craters, such as Beckett and Gibran. These pits are postulated to have formed when subsurface magma subsided or drained, causing the surface to collapse into the resulting void. If this interpretation is correct, pit-floor craters such as Picasso provide evidence of shallow magmatic activity in Mercury's history.