Not Pluto: Mercury Mickey Mouse snapped by NASA orbiter

NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Carnegie Institution of Washington
Three craters resembling the head of an iconic Disney character have been photographed by NASA’s Mercury orbital spacecraft Messenger.

­The small rocky planet nearest to the sun is dotted with numerous craters. The ones resembling Mickey Mouse are located in the southern part of Mercury, to the northwest of the recently named crater Magritte.

Mickey’s “face” formed by the larger crater is approximately 105 kilometers in diameter. It also actually sits to the north of the two smaller ones, so the head would appear to be upside-down if put on a map.

The photo is part of the collection of almost 89,000 images taken by Messenger over the year-long preliminary mission of the spacecraft.

Space is rich in scenes that bear strong resemblance to earthly realities. Arguably the most famous is the Galle crater on Mars, which looks like a happy smiley face.

Another Martian feature in the Cydonia region has been subject of much speculation, because in a photo taken by the Viking 1 orbiter it appeared to resemble a cyclopean human face looking upwards. Later imagery showed that the “face on mars” was merely an optical illusion.

"Happy Face" Crater Greets MGS at the Start of the Mapping (NASA / JPL / MSSS)
"Happy Face" Crater Greets MGS at the Start of the Mapping (NASA / JPL / MSSS)

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Martian face viking (NASA / JPL)
Martian face viking (NASA / JPL)