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Messenger from Mercury

Orbiter returns images of odd landforms on innermost planet

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2:23pm, September 29, 2011

Hot and heavy little Mercury is warming up to NASA’s MESSENGER probe and revealing its true planetary colors — in enhanced-color images. Among the spacecraft’s finds are bizarre landforms (shown here in blue) tucked inside impact craters on the planet’s surface.

David Blewett of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and his colleagues report these puzzling scarlike hollows in the Sept. 30 Science, which features seven papers describing the compact world. The pits resemble sunken Swiss cheese holes — smooth, rimless depressions that vary in size between several meters and a few kilometers across. Irregularly shaped, the clustered ho

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