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120 Million Buys an Awful Lot of Crater
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$120 Million Buys an Awful Lot of Crater

May 10, 2012
Date Created: February 10, 2012 Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Latitude Range: 39.2° N to 42.1° N Longitude Range: 150.6° E to 155.3° E Resolution: 140 meters/pixel Scale: Munch crater is 58 km (36 mi.) in diameter Projection: Azimuthal equidistant Of Interest: This image is a portion of the MDIS global mosaic basemap that was acquired during MESSENGER's first year in orbit. The scene shows a dramatic close-up of Munch crater, named for the Norwegian impressionist painter, printmaker, and draftsman Edvard Munch (1863-1944). On Wednesday, May 2nd 2012, one of four versions of Munch's famous 1895 pastel The Scream sold at auction for $119.9 million, becoming one of the most expensive pieces of artwork in the world. Munch crater is situated within the Caloris basin, the youngest large impact basin on Mercury. The floor of Caloris has been flooded with volcanic flows. The ejecta blanket surrounding Munch contains dark material that originated at depth and was excavated by the Munch-forming impact. This dark material may correspond to rock types — termed lithologies — that are mineralogically distinct from those we see on the surface. The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington