This image from the MESSENGER spacecraft shows the crater Abedin, recently named after Bangladeshi painter Zainul Abedin. The 68-mile-wide crater exhibits a central peak structure and is surrounded by lines of smaller craters, most likely caused by the ejected debris from the initial impact.
Most of the features on Mercury have been named after the world’s great artists.
MESSENGER is currently preparing for a third flyby of Mercury on September 29 and will use that opportunity to further study the planet’s magnetic field.
“The previous flybys yielded significant insight into the dynamics of Mercury’s magnetosphere and its boundaries…These observations proved that the solar wind interaction, under the right circumstances, can drive intense magnetic reconnection at rates 10 times the rates observed at Earth.” – Brian Anderson, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)
In March of 2011 it will become the first spacecraft to enter orbit around the first planet in our solar system.
More information about the mission and the upcoming flyby can be found here.
Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington