Evidence for active hollows formation on Mercury

Dec 20, 2012 by Jason Major, Universe Today
MESSENGER targeted-observation image of the interior of Eminescu crater.

A recent image acquired by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft shows the interior of Eminescu, a youngish 130-km (80 mile) wide crater just north of Mercury's equator. Eminescu made science headlines last year with MESSENGER's discovery of curious eroded blotches called "hollows" scattered across its interior and surrounding its central peak, and now it looks like the spacecraft may have spotted some of these strange features in their earliest stages of formation along the inner edge of the crater's rim.

First announced in September 2011, hollows have now been identified in many areas across Mercury. They had showed up in previous images as only bright spots, but once MESSENGER established orbit in March 2011 and began its high-resolution imaging of Mercury's surface it soon became clear that these features were something totally new.

The lack of craters within hollows indicates that they are relatively young. It was suggested that they may be the result of an ongoing process on Mercury—a suggestion supported by this recent image, acquired on November 19, 2012.

In addition to the hollows seen in the smooth central part of the crater and around the base of the central peak, there are also some small bright spots visible within the knobby terrain extending from the base of the crater wall (see detail at right). These bright spots could well be very young hollows, revealing a process in action that is, as far as we know, unique to the .

It's thought that hollows are formed by the constantly blasting Mercury's surface, scouring away deposits of volatile materials in its crust that have been left exposed by impacts.

The image above shows an area about 42 km across. Read more on the site here.

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cantdrive85
1 / 5 (21) Dec 20, 2012
Even NASA suggests that electric currents (solar wind) are excavating the surface of a rocky planet, it won't be to long before it is acknowledged that this same process (electric currents excavating) is what creates most geologic features.
Jonseer
3.8 / 5 (13) Dec 20, 2012
Even NASA suggests that electric currents (solar wind) are excavating the surface of a rocky planet, it won't be to long before it is acknowledged that this same process (electric currents excavating) is what creates most geologic features.


Yes, but not in the ridiculous ways proponents of the electric universe describe them, and that makes a huge difference.
jsdarkdestruction
3.8 / 5 (13) Dec 20, 2012
Even NASA suggests that electric currents (solar wind) are excavating the surface of a rocky planet, it won't be to long before it is acknowledged that this same process (electric currents excavating) is what creates most geologic features.

the day anyone with their sanity intact says that will be a cold day in hell. the grand canyon and other features have nothing to do with supposed plasma discharge events.
Whydening Gyre
1.5 / 5 (12) Dec 20, 2012
What if this is just a new/different sort of volcanism where something is "boiling" (or otherwise) to the surface from within?
VendicarD
4.9 / 5 (8) Dec 21, 2012
Worm sign?
rubberman
1 / 5 (5) Dec 21, 2012
It looks like rust. Especially when enlarged in the Jan 12th image. Obviously not oxidization like we have, but possibly mercury's version of it.
GSwift7
2.8 / 5 (11) Dec 21, 2012
Even NASA suggests that electric currents (solar wind) are excavating the surface of a rocky planet


No, they are suggesting that the solar wind catalyzes chemical reactions in the soil which releases the volatiles in the soil. Eventually you get a sink hole as the remaining minerals settle and compact under their own weight. If this happened here on Earth, the geological evidence would be evident to a blind man, but it doesn't. The bottom of the grand canyon is composed of sedimentary rock with all of the volatiles still in them, such as limestone.

What's happening on Mercury has nothing to do with electrical currents. It's simple weathering. This is similar to when you leave a picture out in the sun and it fades due to the organics (composed of volatiles) getting broken down by the UV light.
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (15) Dec 21, 2012
So the electric current is catalyzing the reactions? Electrochemical Machining? If ECM is possible, then it is obvious that if the current density were to increase then EDM would be the result.
Maggnus
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 21, 2012
So the electric current is catalyzing the reactions? Electrochemical Machining? If ECM is possible, then it is obvious that if the current density were to increase then EDM would be the result.


No, he said the solar wind catalyzes the chemical reactions which seem to result in the loss of, probably due to blow off, of material in the Mecurian soil, which result in the remaining material settling and compacting under their own weight. Can you read English?

Nothing to do with electrical currents at all. As usual.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (14) Dec 21, 2012
You just mentioned the solar wind, but it has nothing to do with electric currents?
From Wiki;
Electric Current- "An electric current is a flow of electric charge through an electrical conductor.[1] Electric currents flow when there is voltage present across a conductor. In electric circuits this charge is often carried by moving electrons in a wire. It can also be carried by ions in an electrolyte, or by both ions and electrons such as in a plasma."
Solar Wind- "The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. It mostly consists of electrons and protons with energies usually between 1.5 and 10 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed over time."

As usual, the misuse of scientific nomenclature leads to a misunderstanding of the phenomenon. The solar wind IS by definition an electric current, regardless of your desire to deny the FACT.
barakn
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 21, 2012
...except that as you so cleverly pointed out yourself, the solar wind has electrons AND protons, and they're heading in the same direction. Electrical neutrality, and thus not a current. Moron.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (15) Dec 21, 2012
"or by both ions and electrons such as in a plasma."
MORON
"electric current is a flow of electric charge"
MORON
Ions have a charge
MORON
Electrons have a charge
MORON
And as I have pointed out repeatedly, MORON, those charges don't "cancel out", they interact forming filamentary and cellular morphology, MORON.
http://phys.org/n...rly.html
The "swirly" cellular nature of the solar wind confirms exactly what I stated, charges don't "cancel out", you SF MORON.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Dec 23, 2012
"Sometimes the solar wind is described as a "vast stream of ions" but this leads to an incomplete description of the physics of the wind as electrons and electromagnetic fields are not included"

http://plasmauniv...derstand
Shinobiwan Kenobi
2.8 / 5 (11) Dec 23, 2012
"or by both ions and electrons such as in a plasma."
MORON
"electric current is a flow of electric charge"
MORON
Ions have a charge
MORON
Electrons have a charge
MORON
And as I have pointed out repeatedly, MORON, those charges don't "cancel out", they interact forming filamentary and cellular morphology, MORON.
http://phys.org/n...rly.html
The "swirly" cellular nature of the solar wind confirms exactly what I stated, charges don't "cancel out", you SF MORON.


Vast amount of material spewing forth, all negatively charged; CD, are you plasma?
Peteri
5 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2012
@cantdrive85: Do you hold any formal academic qualifications, such as a degree in physics? If so, please do tell us what it is, because at the moment the ideas you put forward seem to indicate a distinct lack of any training in science.

Myself, and I am sure plenty of other PhysOrg readers, look forward to you providing this information as soon as possible.
barakn
5 / 5 (5) Dec 23, 2012
Oh, candrive85, I forgot the punchline! Your assertion is that the sun is charged and has an electric field. Those of us that have studied electric fields know that they apply a force on charged particles, but the force is in opposite directions for particles of opposite charges. So please tell us how the sun's electric field is driving protons and electrons in the same direction. Thank you.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Dec 23, 2012
According to Don Scott's Electric Sun Model;
" Positive ions leave the Sun and electrons enter the Sun. Both of these flows add to form a net positive current flowing through the Sun (entering at the poles and leaving radially at lower latitudes). This constitutes a plasma discharge analogous in every way (except size) to those that have been observed in electrical plasma laboratories for decades. Because of the Sun's positive charge (voltage), it acts as the anode in a plasma discharge. As such, it exhibits many of the phenomena observed in earthbound plasma laboratory experiments. "

http://electric-c.../sun.htm

You made the claim of electrons and ions flowing in the same direction, this is not what the observations or models suggest.
yyz
5 / 5 (6) Dec 23, 2012
"According to Don Scott's Electric Sun Model..."

This is the same model that predicts the Earth is bombarded by a astronaut-killing 38,000 rads/hr of radiation: http://dealingwithcreationisminastronomy.blogspot.com/2012/09/death-by-electric-universe-ii-solar.html

Try again!
barakn
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 23, 2012
"From a physical point of view it is most probable that solar rays are neither exclusively negative nor positive rays, but of both kinds" -Kristian Birkeland. Yeah, so Birkeland agrees with me, not you. Obviously you've never heard of the Ulysses mission, so I'll basically describe it for you. It was a spacecraft that used Jupiter as a gravitational slingshot to achieve a large solar polar orbit and thus sampled regions of our solar system that no other spacecraft has. And when it flew over both solar poles multiple times, did it detect a flow of incoming electrons? No, it measured a solar wind composed of both electrons and positive ions that were traveling outwards TWICE as fast the equatorial solar wind. So what was it that you were saying about observations? You were lying.
Anda
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 23, 2012
Even NASA suggests that electric currents (solar wind) are excavating the surface of a rocky planet, it won't be to long before it is acknowledged that this same process (electric currents excavating) is what creates most geologic features.


FUCK!!! Ahahahah
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (11) Dec 23, 2012
Reading your statement it seemed you were implying there was only an outflow of ions and electrons, I was responding to that inaccuracy. If you had read the 'Electric Sky' you would find Mr. Scott's assessment agrees with Birkeland's statement. Nobody assumes a homogenous flow, if electrons or ions have enough energy they can flow through the electric field regardless of the "generalized" flow. Being this "discussion" began with you claiming there is no electric current, I will post a quote from one of the Ulysses mission scientists;
"But the biggest thing in the heliosphere is not a planet, or even the Sun. It's the current sheet--a sprawling surface where the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field changes from plus (north) to minus (south). "We call it the 'current sheet,'" says Riley, "because an electrical current flows there, about 10-10 amps/m2." The filament of an ordinary light bulb carries sixteen orders of magnitude (1016x) more amps/m2." (con't)
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (12) Dec 23, 2012
(con't)
"But what the current sheet lacks in local amperage, it makes up in sheer size. The sheet is 10,000 km thick and extends from the Sun past the orbit of Pluto. "The entire heliosphere is organized around this giant sheet. There's a problem, though: the current sheet is invisible. "We can't see it through an optical telescope," he says, "which means we have to calculate where it is."

So according to NASA, there is in fact, an electric current and with what we know about currents there must be a flow of electrons opposite that of ions.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (11) Dec 24, 2012
"According to Don Scott's Electric Sun Model..."

This is the same model that predicts the Earth is bombarded by a astronaut-killing 38,000 rads/hr of radiation: http://dealingwithcreationisminastronomy.blogspot.com/2012/09/death-by-electric-universe-ii-solar.html

Try again!


This boy is so completely clueless of EUT it doesn't even deserve a response. This is one of the assumptions used by this boy to come to his conclusion (being his field is metaphysical astrophysics he is supremely accustomed to using assumptions);
"The model assumes the flow of electrons from the heliopause approaches the Sun uniformly from all directions. It it were not, we would expect significantly larger variations of brightness over the solar surface."
His entire speculation is based upon this assumption, unfortunately for him, this is NOT an accurate assessment of the model. His entire reasoning is flawed, as are ALL of his claims against EUT.
barakn
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 24, 2012
The current sheet is quasi-equatorial. These are not the polar electrons you claimed. You just can't come up with a cogent argument to save your life, can you? Nor is it obvious why you would even bring up the current sheet when it is a natural result of a heliosphere dominated by magnetic fields rapped up into a spiral by solar rotation, not your fictitious hyper-positive sun.
FrankHerbert
2.4 / 5 (7) Dec 24, 2012
Worm sign?
-VendicarD
I approve of this.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (12) Dec 24, 2012
The current sheet is quasi-equatorial.

Cogent argument? Reread the posts, you deny that the solar wind is an electric current, here I have shown the existence of an electric current which is made up of the particles of the solar wind. This is the largest example, but there are many others.
http://phys.org/n...133.html
BTW, a "magnetic flux tube" is also an electric current.
http://phys.org/n...543.html
Jupiter and Io experience these electrical currents as well.
http://www-spof.g...wio.html
http://www.planet...rus.html
Two TRILLION watts...
As does Saturn and Enceladus
http://www.nasa.g...420.html
Check out the "artists impression" you can clearly see it's the current flowing through Enceladus (Io too) that is excavating the materials from the south pole, not "water jets". The last examples are not of the solar wind, but they are analogs of the solar system.
barakn
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 24, 2012
So rather than defend your unsupported claim of incoming polar electrons, you simply pile on a bunch of irrelevant crap and hope we won't notice you've changed the subject?
barakn
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 24, 2012
Solar wind mass loss is estimated at 4-6 metric tons/hour. If treated as 100% hydrogen atoms (or protons and electrons), this works out to 7 to 9 x10^35 protons/s and an almost equal number of electrons. Your precious current sheet is 3x10^9 amp. An amp is 6.241x10^18 e-/s, so the current sheet represents 2x10^28 e-/s. In other words, the current sheet's incoming electrons are dwarfed by the outgoing electrons by a ratio of 1:20,000,000. Too weak and in the wrong place to explain Numbnut Scott's Electric Sun Model.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (12) Dec 24, 2012
Cantdrive:

You can keep making extraordinary claims until the internet runs out of space, but that still won't change the basic laws of physics or observed qualities of our solar system. The sun does have magnetic fields, many of them, overlapping and twisting around one another, extending out into space, interacting with planets, creating our aurora at the poles, etc.

Here's the reality check though: In the solar wind, there are many particles (some quasi-particles too). All are moving outward from the sun at measurable supersonic speeds. The only reason the electrons and protons are free is because the kinetic energy level of the particles prevents them from forming bonds. When one of these electrons strikes an object, such as the planet Mercury, they do not bond with the planet, as would happen if charge was being transfered to Mercury. That would be a current. They are too energetic, so they bounce off, transfering momentum. That can cause molecules to break apart. Chemically
GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 24, 2012
Continued:

If I take a balloon and rub it on your mickey mouse sweater, so that it has a charge, then blow that balloon accross the room with a fan, that is not an electric current. This is analogous to the solar wind. There are charged particles, but they are not moving in response to a difference in electrical potential. There is not a voltage drop from the sun to the Earth large enough to cause the effects you imagine. Such a powerfull magnetic field would be easily observable. With such a field, you could use the difference in voltage to charge your cell phone with nothing more than an antenna. Unfortunately, such a field does not exist, so we build power plants and use wires and batteries. Occasionally the sun erupts and ejects a burst of energy, which can cause electrical disturbances through the photoelectric effect, but that isn't the result of an electric field either. The current is the effect of photons, not the result of magnetism.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (9) Dec 24, 2012
If there is no electric field please explain the ACCELERATION of the solar wind as it moves away from the Sun. A balloon blown across a room is not at all analogous of the solar wind, the plasma environment of space changes everything.
barakn
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 25, 2012
I can't agree with GSwift7 on the moving, charged balloon. It would be a current, albeit a strange, time-dependent current.

As for the acceleration of the solar wind, the one thing we can be sure of is that it's not due to an electric field. If it was, particles of one charge would accelerate while particles of the other would decelerate.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 26, 2012
If there is no electric field please explain the ACCELERATION of the solar wind as it moves away from the Sun. A balloon blown across a room is not at all analogous of the solar wind, the plasma environment of space changes everything


Oh for heaven's sake. I specifically said that the sun does have electric fields, many of them. They just aren't strong enough or uniform enough to cause effects of the magnitude you imagine. If you'd like to know how we measure the sun's magnetic field, look up the Zeeman or Stark effect. This is not an ignored or mysterious part of physics.

Interrestingly enough, the sun's electromagnetic field is AC, not DC. It changes direction about once every 11 years. Funny how the solar wind doesn't reverse course back towards the sun when that happens. That's because the solar wind is mechanically driven. Those particles are shot out like projectiles, not carried in a current. There's a field, but it doesn't drive them.
GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 26, 2012
Let me clarify:

The acceleration you are confused about happens within the corona, not farther out. The solar wind doesn't continue to accelerate after it leaves the sun. We have known for some time that thermodynamic acceleration is the major component of the acceleration, but not the only one. For the solar wind to reach such high speed there must be something else, though not as strong as the thermal force. It is assumed that the secondary force is probably electromagnetic. You are correct that electromagnetism is partially responsible for accelerating the solar wind, at its origin.

You are incorrect in assuming that this effect is significant beyond one solar radius away from the sun's 'surface'. The SOHO probe proved that the assumed electromagnetic acceleration of the solar wind is happening way down at the bottom of the corona.

Once the solar wind actually leaves the sun, it's ballistic in nature more than it is plasma, though it is both. Everyone knows this.
GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 26, 2012
Here's a really good paper done by NASA that summarizes the state of the art in helio-physics today:

http://solarphysi...ext.html

You'll notice that they actually reference Alfven's work when they talk about the mechanisms that dominate in the lower corona and the interior of the sun. That does not apply to the physics farther out. The field strength of the solar wind in the region of Earth is only a few nano-tesla. That's infantesimally small, to the point of being difficult to measure or detect, even with modern instruments.

As I've tried and tried to get you to understand, Alfven is correct when you're talking about small scales. The EU stuff only becomes crap when you try to extrapolate up to larger scales. Magnetism is very real and valid when you are talking about local phenomena, they just aren't as big or as strong as they would need to be if your proposals were real.
Maggnus
1.8 / 5 (4) Dec 26, 2012
cd85, electric fields & electric currents are not required to generate magnetic fields. Have you any knowledge of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)?
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2012
cd85, electric fields & electric currents are not required to generate magnetic fields. Have you any knowledge of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)?

There is no magnetic field w/o electric currents, MHD (magnetic waves) explains moving currents.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2012
Alfven made it explicitly clear during his Nobel acceptance speech that MHD only applies is dense plasmas, it will not apply to the solar wind.
scidog
not rated yet Dec 27, 2012
back in the 1950's my general science teacher in Jr High said that it was so hot on Mercury that there could be pools of hot lead,i'll go with that for now.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2012
So what other explanations were offered for the appearance of these active hollows?
How are they going to confirm that the hollows are indeed activated by the solar wind and not some other geophysical phenomena?
If it turns out that the activity in the hollows are from geophysical causes, what possible explanations will the researchers be willing to offer then?
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2012
Kevin:

If it turns out that the activity in the hollows are from geophysical causes, what possible explanations will the researchers be willing to offer then?


Good question. Current observations do not tell us much, so the above theory is just a first guess.

As for 'geophysical' causes, I assume you mean things like earthquakes and such? Mercury has been geologically dead for billions of years. We know this based on the craters on its surface.

As for 'other' causes, the change from 100K to 700K and back every ~29 days might be a factor. Someone above jokingly commented about melting lead, but something like that might not be out of the question. Materials such as zinc, tin, lead, etc might melt and refreeze in the soil, expanding, flowing, contracting. It's interesting to think of the equivelant of a frost line here on earth, where materials like tin will stay solid below a certain depth in the ground.