A dark, smooth, relatively uncratered area on Mercury was photographed (FDS 226) two hours after Mariner 10 flew by the planet on March 29 from a range of 86,000 kilometers (54,000 miles). Above and to the left of center is a surface similar to the mane material of Earth's moon. It embays and covers rougher, older, heavily cratered topography like that, which can be seen in both upper corners of this picture. The history of heavy cratering seems to be followed by volcanic filling, similar to the process on the Moon. The prominent, sharp crater with a central peak (center) is 30 kilometers (19 miles) across. It is located on the upper left edge of a very bright surface area. The bright crater, to its right is 10 kilometers (6 miles) in diameter. The sun is from the right. The Mariner 10 mission, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, explored Venus in February 1974 on the way to three encounters with Mercury-in March and September 1974 and in March 1975. The spacecraft took more than 7,000 photos of Mercury, Venus, the Earth and the Moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Northwestern University


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