An Artistic Array of Rays

MESSENGER image of Xiao Zhao crater

Named after a 12th century Chinese artist, Xiao Zhao is a young 15-mile (24-kilometer) wide crater on Mercury. Its broad, bright rays indicate its youthfulness, as the lighter material ejected by the initial impact has not yet had enough time to grow dark.

“Young” is a relative term, of course. On Mercury that can still mean several billion years old!