In Depth | Mercury – NASA Solar System Exploration - Deepstash

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In Depth | Mercury – NASA Solar System Exploration

solarsystem.nasa.gov

Mercury

The smallest planet in our solar system and nearerst to the Sun, 

Mecury is only slightly larger than the Earth's Moon. From the surface of Mercury, the sun would appear more than three times as large as it does when viewed from Earth, and the sunlight would be as much as seven times b...

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Quick facts

Day: 176 Earth days

Year: 88 Earth days

Radius: 1,516 miles | 2,439.7 kilometers

Planet type: Terrestrial

Temperature: 800 degrees Fahrenheit, 430 degrees Celsius/ -290 degrees Fahrenheit ...

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Size and distance

With a radius of 1,516 miles (2,440 kilometers), Mercury is a little more than 1/3 the width of Earth.

If Earth were the size of a nickel, Mercury would be about as big as a blueberry.

From an average distance of 36 million miles (58 million kilometers), Mercury is 0.4 astronomical un...

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Orbit and rotation

Mercury's highly eccentric, egg-shaped orbit takes the planet as close as 29 million miles (47 million kilometers) and as far as 43 million miles (70 million kilometers) from the Sun. It speeds around the Sun every 88 days, traveling through space at nearly 29 miles (47 kilometers) per second, fa...

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Structure

Mercury is the second densest planet, after Earth. It has a large metallic core with a radius of about 1,289 miles (2,074 kilometers), about 85 percent of the planet's radius. 

There is evidence that it is partly molten, or liquid. Mercury's outer shell, comparable to Earth's outer she...

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Formation

Mercury formed about 4.5 million years ago when gravity pulled swirling and dust together to form this small planet nearest the Sun. Like its fellow terrestrial planets, Mercury has a central core, a rocky mantle and a solid crust.

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Surface

Mercury's surface resembles that of Earth's moon, scarred by many impact craters resulting from collisions with meteoroids and comets. Craters and features on Mercury are named after famous deceased artists, musicians or authors.

Temperatures on the surface of Mercury are extreme, both hot ...

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Atmosphere

Instead of an atmosphere Mercury possesses a thin exosphere made up of atoms blasted off the surface by the solar wind and striking meteoroids. Mercury's exosphere is composed mostly of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium and potassium.

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Magnetosphere

Mercury's magnetic field is offset relative to the planet's equator. 

Though Mercury's magnetic field at the surface has just one percent the strength of Earth's, it interacts with the magnetic field of the solar wind to sometimes create intense magnetic tornadoes that funnel the fast,...

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Potential for life

Mercury's environment is not conductive ot life as we know it The temperatures and solar radiation that characterize this planet are most likely too extreme for organisms to adapt to.

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Moons

Mercury has no moons.

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Mercury has no rings

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