A Color-Saturated Look At Mercury's Massive, Ancient Caloris Basin

Illustration for article titled A Color-Saturated Look At Mercury's Massive, Ancient Caloris Basin

Mercury's Caloris Basin is seen in an enhanced color mosaic. The massive crater, formed some 4 billion years ago, is orange. Smaller craters made subsequently are rendered in blue, while orange splotches around the perimeter may be volcanic vents.


(Side note: Props to the punster who titled the photo "All About that Basin" on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Photojournal page.)

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Arizona State University/Carnegie Institution of Washington



A joint mission to Mercury between ESA and JAXA, BepiColombo, planned to launch in July of 2016, was originally conceived to have a surface lander but this was cut due to budget limitations.* Mercury is hard to reach given it's orbit so close to the Sun. It takes a lot of fuel to get there and assume a parking orbit around it, let alone to drop a lander or rover. Being bigger than the Moon also adds to the fuel needed.

Still, someone has try this. We need to landers and rovers on Mercury. Maybe RKA or NASA will step up? After a brief search on the Web I've found nothing planned, not even news on the Planetary Society site.

* See? NASA isn't the only one with this problem.