Yesterday, the MESSENGER team learned that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) had approved the name of another crater near Mercury's north pole. Chesterton, named for the English author Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), joins nine other craters named in August 2012 in this region. Chesterton crater is identified with a green circle in the above image, and, like the other nine newly named polar craters, also hosts radar-bright deposits that may contain water ice.
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Scale: Prokofiev has a diameter of 112 kilometers (70 miles)
Arecibo Radar Image: shown in yellow, from Harmon et al., Icarus, 211, 37-50, 2011.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a year-long extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.