Han Solo Can’t Catch a Break

You know, sometimes the headlines just write themselves:

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Remind you of anyone? Click to encarbonate. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Holy smugglers in carbonite! This image of “Han Solo” comes to us courtesy of the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around Mercury. MESSENGER snapped this image of a portion of the Caloris Basin, a large (1,550 km) crater that  spans a huge chunk of Mercury’s surface.

MESSENGER took this image with its Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS). Despite its name, the WAC delivers a resolution of 75 meters/pixel in this image, making “Han” about 25km in length!

Mercury has had quite a dramatic geologic history, throwing up interesting rock formations in the process, so it was only a matter of time before it created a formation that resembles a certain carbonate-encased smuggler with a bounty on his head.

Bad times for Han
Bad times for Han

And no, it’s not symbolic of anything, except what we assign to it. It’s the same phenomenon that makes people think they’re seeing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich (I always thought it was Marylin Monroe, myself).

And don’t get me started on making the Kessel run in 12 parsecs….

Tip of the light saber to Tom Wolf.

Update

Some folks on the interwebs are telling me that they see what looks like an elongated tooth instead of a human form. Interesting that some people experience Pareidolia while others are experience Periodontia (see what I did there? I’ll be here all week!)

 

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