Scientists have received confirmation of the active formation of gullies on Mercury


24/12/2012

Recent images taken by the spacecraft Messenger, allowed the scientists to look inside the crater Eminescu width of 130 km, which is located north of the equator of Mercury. About crater Eminescu wrote a lot in scientific journals in the past year, when Messenger discovered a curious trail of destruction called "holes" in it and around its center point. Now, it seems, the spacecraft was able to fix some of these strange features in the earliest stages of their formation along the inner edge of the rim of the crater.

The first wells were seen as early as September 2011, but it now appears that they are present in many areas of Mercury. In the earlier pictures were shown just as bright dots when the Messenger entered Mercury’s orbit in March 2011 and began sending pictures of the planet’s surface in high resolution, it has become clear that the relief formation was something completely new.

The lack of craters in the wells indicates that they are relatively young age. There is speculation that they may be the result of continuous processes on Mercury. This assumption was confirmed by the latest images obtained 19 November 2012.

In addition to the wells located in the central part of the crater and around its central point, as in the photo you can see a few small bright points located in the hilly terrain, ranging from the main wall of the crater. These bright spots can be very young holes, indicating the process in action, which as far as we know, is unique to Mercury.

It is assumed that the wells are formed by the solar wind, constantly scraping the surface of Mercury from volatile materials accumulating on its bark, which then makes it susceptible to a variety of processes.

Original in (English.) Phys.org Translation: M. Potter


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