January 30, 2016

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Moon & Mercury

Originally published April 5, 2005


Image Credit: Howard Eskildsen

Moon & Mercury

Moon over Hawaii, and over Mercury too. This was the scene in March when Howard leaned his camera against a post and used the timer to acquire this evocative image. Hawaii is a good place to think about the Moon for the basaltic lava flows that ooze from fissures and cones and flow kilometers on that isle are small scale versions of what similar materials did on the Moon 3 billion or so years ago. On the Moon we can see individual lava flows in Mare Imbrium, and collections of overlapping flows made the maria and dark basalt deposits in Plato and on many other crater floors. Mercury has smooth plains material around its basins and in some craters. These materials seem to be lava flows but we aren’t certain that they are basalts. The Messenger spacecraft, which is taking a leisurely 7 year cruise to Mercury (contrast with Mariner 10, America’s first Mercury mission that reached the planet in 5 months!) carries sensitive spectrometers to determine the compositions of Mercury’s surface. Tune in in 2011 for an answer to the question: Does Mercury have basaltic lavas like Earth, Mars, Moon and at least one asteroid?

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
2005 March 12, 05:15 UT. Nikon Coolpix 4300 1 second exposure, f/4.9, 24 mm f.l. Photo taken in Kahalui, Maui, Hawaii.

Related Links:
Mercury Unveiled

Yesterday's LPOD: Fabulous Furnerius

Tomorrow's LPOD: Donut

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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