Mercury, Extreme Planet Planetary society

Why study Mercury?

He doesn’t always pay much attention to Mercury. The sun’s deepest planet is smaller than both Jupiter’s moon Ganymede and Saturn’s moon Titan. It was overshadowed by worlds like Mars that may have once lived in life and planets that are solar systems to themselves like Jupiter and Saturn.

Mercury is a world of extremes. Its surface appears old, cratered and undisturbed due to recent geological activities. It does, however, have a magnetic field, which is usually caused by a molten core which in turn should cause surface changes. Thanks to the nearby Sun, Mercury’s surface temperatures reach 430 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit) – yet like our Moon, water ice exists inside tractors of shaded craters at the poles.

Mercury is of particular interest to scientists studying exoplanets, planets orbiting other stars. Thousands of known exoplanets orbit extremely close to their stars. By studying Mercury right here in our backyard, we can better understand what those worlds in close orbit might be like.

Mercury’s core makes up 85 percent of the planet’s volume – much more than Earth’s, which makes up only 15 percent. Scientists are not sure why, and the answer can help us understand the possibilities of different types of planets and how our solar system evolved.