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Hole-y Smokes
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Hole-y Smokes!

December 22, 2012
Date acquired: October 18, 2012 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 259063335 Image ID: 2788927 Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Center Latitude: 26.95° Center Longitude: 301.0° E Resolution: 26 meters/pixel Scale: The depression to the left is 9.5 km (5.9 mi.) wide Incidence Angle: 68.5° Emission Angle: 6.3° Phase Angle: 62.1° Of Interest: On the left side of the image above, the large depression is thought to be a volcanic vent that formed inside the peak-ring basin Praxiteles. On the right, the peak ring is discontinuous, and hollows are found in line with where the peak ring is expected. There are even hollows that have formed on portions of the vent itself. Images such as this hint at a possible relationship between the formation of explosive volcanic deposits and hollows. This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week. 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