Cookie Monster crater on Mercury

Oct 15, 2012 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
The MESSENGER spacecraft acquired this image on August 29, 2012.

Big Bird has been grabbing the headlines lately, and its time for another Muppet to get a little face time. So, here's Cookie Monster's face, plastered across the surface of Mercury. Well, it looks like it, anyway. This is an image from the MESSENGER spacecraft, orbiting Mercury, and the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center suggested this superposition of younger craters on older craters (in this case two smaller and shadowed craters that look like googly eyes placed on the rim of an older crater) appears to resemble everyone's favorite blue, Sesame Street, cookie-loving monster.

While most of us can enjoy this image for the pareidolia effect of seeing a familiar face (and start salivating about cookies), what scientists are looking at here are craters. Specifically in this image, the Law of Superposition allows scientists to determine which surface features pre- and postdate others, leading to a better understanding of the of different regions of Mercury's surface.

Or, in Sesame Street lingo, which comes first?

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Also, C is for crater.

Explore further: Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A peek at a pitch-black pit

Mar 20, 2012

MESSENGER captured this high-resolution image of an elongated pit crater within the floor of the 355-km (220-mile) -wide crater Tolstoj on Mercury on Jan. 11, 2012. The low angle of sun illumination puts the ...

Mercury's many colors

Jul 27, 2012

Although composited from expanded wavelengths of light, this wide-angle image from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows the amazing variation of colors and tones to be found on Mercury’s Sun-scoured ...

Warhol crater gets its 15 minutes of fame

May 15, 2012

As pop art icon Andy Warhol said, “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes,”  and so here’s an image of the crater on Mercury that now bears his name, set up in the style ...

Bright peaks, dark shadows

Feb 20, 2012

The 68-mile (109-km) -wide Amaral crater on Mercury reveals its brightly-tipped central peaks in this image, acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft on Feb. 4, 2012. Long shadows are cast by the crater’s ...

More 'hollowed ground' on Mercury

Jan 05, 2012

The latest featured image from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, soon to complete its first year in orbit around Mercury, shows the central peak of the 78-mile (138-km) – wide crater Eminescu surrounded ...

Recommended for you

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

17 hours ago

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

17 hours ago

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JustChris
5 / 5 (2) Oct 15, 2012
Oh my, oh my! This must be a sign from Aliens that they want us to give them cookies in exchange for technology!
Birger
5 / 5 (2) Oct 15, 2012
Naah. This is just graffiti by the cookie-monster-shaped aliens that helped ferry the (Mormon) god Elohim here from the Kolob* star system.
*The home system of the Mormon god, according to their prophets.
DarkHorse66
not rated yet Oct 16, 2012
Cookies???!
That looks more like a footprint.
Who smuggled the elephant onto Mercury......? :D
Cheers, DH66
(Psst, Birger, if that Mormon god lives there now, and just went for a stroll...?)