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August 29, 2012
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Scale: Prokofiev has a diameter of 112 kilometers (70 miles) Arecibo Radar Image: shown in yellow, from Harmon et al., Icarus, 211, 37-50, 2011. Of Interest: On August 6, 2012, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved names for nine impact craters on Mercury, which are circled and labeled in pink on the above image. Previously named craters in this region are labeled in light blue. All nine of the newly named craters are located in Mercury's north polar region and host radar-bright deposits that may contain water ice. 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.” Read today's Mission News story for full details. 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

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